Photo Credit: Brian MacGregor

When you sign up to be an official, you should understand there is a higher standard of behavior for your actions on the field or court. But what about when you are not wearing the uniform?

Like it or not officials are public figures, even at the amateur levels. People will sometimes recognize you as an official when you’re in public — even when you’re not in uniform. It isn’t uncommon for coaches and/or others to recognize your face or even your name.

Last season coaches and fans from a game I officiated recognized me and approached me in a restaurant. And on another night when I was in the stands as a fan — there to enjoy the game and support a few friends who were about to call the game — a complete stranger came up to me and asked, “How would you like to be working this game?”

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Those examples show that you are in the public eye whether or not you are calling a game, so you need to behave appropriately.

As A Fan

Represent officiating as you would want to be supported by fellow officials if you were working the game. Whether or not you have expertise in a particular sport, you should back the official(s) or refrain from commenting.

People will notice your actions in the stands. If you happen to be at a game and start yelling at an official, you will lose credibility. What stops a fan from seeing you do that and thinking it is acceptable? Maybe they will do the same to the officials or even to you when you officiate your next game.

On Social Media

Officials often have their own social media accounts and make regular posts. Remember, once you hit send there is no going back.

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Be careful what you post on those sites about officiating. Refrain from making comments about officials in any sport. Avoid posting where you are working or about pending assignments. Don’t post about interactions with individuals (coaches, players, partners) whom you officiated.

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The public eye is always watching.

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Note: This article is archival in nature. Rules, interpretations, mechanics, philosophies and other information may or may not be correct for the current year.

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