SIDELINE OBSERVATIONS: Give officials due respect

Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 06:25 PM.

There have been times in this column space when I haven’t been easy on the men and women who officiate local high school sports.

I try to give the officials the benefit of the doubt, but every now and then, must call it like I see and point out a badly missed call or — on some rare occasions — calls that seem strongly slanted in favor of one team.

That said, 99 percent of those who sacrifice their time for a comparatively small payment are people of honor.

I’ve gotten to know many of the officials — some by name, others by face. We will chitchat before a game and, sometimes, during the event, as time permits.

One of the men officiating high school basketball in the area is former Northwest Florida State College baseball coach Keith Griffin. I got to know Griffin when I covered Raider baseball for the Northwest Florida Daily News.

Griffin worked the Baker-Laurel Hill girls basketball game I was covering Thursday night. During the game, we talked about the recent Baseball Hall of Fame elections, for which nobody was elected, and Alabama’s win over Notre Dame for the National Championship in football.

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