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Ban Instant Replay in Sports and Put Fans Out of Their Misery

By Stephen Douglas
A referee looks at a replay review.
A referee looks at a replay review. / Norm Hall/Getty Images
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Instant replay sucks. It took more than a half of an hour to play a minute and a half of basketball on Tuesday night. Instant replay dragged Game 2 of Suns-Clippers from an instant classic to way past it's expiration date. Now a keen editor will need to work tirelessly to restore this as a Hardwood Classic. And it's all thanks to instant replay.

Our biggest concern with instant replay was once that it would remove the human element from baseball. It would start us down a slippery slope to robot umpires. Instead, it's just mucked up every sport. Soccer, football, even golf has been sullied by viewers at home doing their own instant replay of rules violations.

Replay just sucks. Last night sucked. Even if it worked out in the end for the team I was rooting for, it was a big pain in the ass and the NBA should be embarrassed. It's not fun to watch a million replays. Plus there's that subjectiveness of what's important. If something happens with 121 seconds left in the game it's less important than something that happens with 119 seconds remaining? Coaches get one replay, but officials are able to eff up unlimited calls throughout the game?

And the worst part of all of it is the constant calls from players to ask for review. Making a circle motion with your finger over your head has replaced the palms out "what did I do!?" as the go-to move on most foul calls. And the worst part is players still complain and demand reviews when they clearly commit a foul or the ball goes off them as if the video will betray reality.

There are only two ways to fix this. And that is to go all in and let an eye in the sky immediately review every single thing or get rid of it completely. And you know that with all the money and technology and in the interest of getting calls right the NBA will probably consider option A.

They could built a officiating megachurch in Seacacus. Individual officials could watch the games and let their inner Joey Crawford loose and act out every call on a tiny basketball court as their words are broadcasted into the stadiums like the Rules Gods they often see themselves as. They could sell tickets because that's what people want to see. Referees affecting games, making calls and looking at monitors.

Or they could call it a failed experiment and just go back to the old way. Replay hasn't stopped anyone from complaining. People still disagree with calls. Instant replay creates as many, if not more, problems than it has solved.

It sucks! This whole situation sucks! The idea of replay is nice, but it just isn't practical. Every close sports contest has the potential to turn into an episode of Black Mirror. So just stop. Let the world go back to complaining about how bad referees are in real time. Replay just delays it.

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