The blown call in the fourth quarter of the Rams-Saints NFC Championship game a couple of weeks ago was unfortunate. It was clearly a mistake. The Head of Officials said so. The NFL said so. It stinks. It’s unfair. But this is life. We’ve all heard numerous times, “Life isn’t always fair.” In the days that followed, there was public outcry and public outrage…talk of lawsuits…a letter from the Saints Owner vowing to address issues that impact the fairness and integrity of the game. Now, the NFL is “concerned” that some of the officials are from California.
Here’s what I’m concerned about. I’m concerned that our society has drifted to a place where it’s no longer ok to have a past. The implication here is that the referees’ past history in California disqualifies them from being able to do their job fairly and impartially. By definition, they are compromised and unable to officiate the game without exhibiting bias.
Thanks to the Internet, people’s every word, action, opinion, photograph, video, blog, post and Tweet are available for scrutiny and judgement by the masses. Did you have an opinion on something ten years ago? Have you changed your mind? NOT ALLOWED. Ever done something you regretted, but were able to rise above it? NOT POSSIBLE. We are now the sum total of all our worst words and actions, guilty forever with no hope of restoration.
This, of course, is not true. Times change. People change. We all make bad decisions. Hopefully, most of us learn from our mistakes and become better people as a result. Our pasts don’t define us; they inform us. They direct us. Viewed through the correct lens, our pasts can inspire us and give us a glimpse of what our best selves can be.