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Instant Replay: Fair or Foul?

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Sports have always been unfair. Every game comes with human referees who make bad calls. In the past few years, instant replay, the ability to review controversial plays from multiple angles, has shed new light on sports in both negative and positive ways.

On the one hand, instant replay can reduce the likelihood that an incorrect call will decide a sporting event.The use of many camera angles and advanced, high-definition screens allows officials to see close angles and capture the point of controversy, ultimately making the game fairer.

Craig Berman, the author of “Pros and Cons of Instant Replay,” said “Excellent officials may find themselves in a poor position to see how a particular play unfolds or simply miss a call. Instant replay fixes the correctable errors and gets everyone back on the eld as if they never happened, helping the athletes on the eld decide the game.”

On the other hand, fans have to wait out the delays caused by instant replays. Some fans believe instant replay is taking away from the experience of events. Jack Fry said, “I think this causes a loss of authenticity in sports events that comes with unfair calls.

The replays also make it difficult to celebrate the positives pays.”

Many people enjoying a sports game on the TV have the luxury to see the multiple views of the play under review; however, fans that are in the stadium frequently have to wait impatiently as referees find out whether a pass was incomplete or whether a foul was a block or a charge on the basketball court.
Instant replays slow down the pace of games, altering a great part of watching a game live.
Furthermore, instant replay can serve as a delay for players to catch their breath or cause a team that has the momentum to cool down. Berman said,“In the NFL, for example, replay reviews are initiated by the replay officials themselves in the final two minutes, meaning a team out of timeouts may effectively get a stoppage handed to them by the replay booth.”

In the NFL, instant replay is completely changing how catches are viewed. “Plays that would be called catches in any high school game, that people in the stadium would see as a catch, are now slowed down, replayed and frequently overturned because technically, the player slightly bobbled the ball three steps in as he hurtled to the ground at 20 miles per hour,” Jackson Hurley said.

While some NFL fans think instant replay is taking away from the game, others think it is keeping the game truthful.“I think instant replay for the NFL is a very positive thing because it keeps the game honest and keeps the refs honest too. I think the fans are less offended because all they want is the right call to be made,” said Raiders fan Aidan O’Donnell.

Most sports leagues have rules that govern when instant replay can and cannot be used. NFL coaches, for example, are allowed just two challenges per game, earning a third only if the first two are successful. If an official happens to miss more calls and those calls don’t occur on plays that are automatically reviewed — scoring plays or turnovers — teams won’t be able to get the calls corrected. Coaches may challenge plays that don’t require them, causing more delays while the situation is sorted out. Find- ing an effective method to regulate the replay rules is something all leagues are working on.

Fans of the NBA have mixed feelings about the instant replay rule. Some feel as if it is killing the game, others think instant replay does go far enough, and some feel that it is helping referees make the right decision during the crucial moments of a game. “The results of the plays are a lot more accurate. In a tight game, for me, the instant replay is key,” says Anton Homeniuk.

Friend and fellow NBA fan Alex Furukawa has a different perspective. “I think instant replay is a good thing, but there are a lot of aws. For example, if a play is being reviewed and they notice something else, they can’t change the call. If they are reviewing who the ball touched last, and they notice a player in the back punches another player, they can’t call a foul on the player throwing punches. It also takes away from the tears and joy of the game.”

Basketball is one of the fastest paced games around, making it hard for referees to make the right call 100 percent of the time. The NBA’s instant replay rule was implemented during the 2002- 2003 playoffs. Many believe that this new rule changed the game of basketball significantly.

Since then the NBA has made various changes to the rule to enable referees to make the correct call.The league even built
its own “Replay Center” which has 94 monitors that play each NBA game going on at the time, from various angles. Referees in the Replay Center help make decisions for on-court reviews. The NBA can’t please everyone with the replay rule. Either you enjoy watching the fast-paced games with occasional hiccups in calls, or you do not mind the reoccurring delays as long as the right call is being made.

In baseball, home-run plays and tags are subject to review, but the MLB is looking to expand to fair-or-foul calls, trapped balls, and fan interference. Already, home-run reviews add on more time to a long game. If the MLB expands to other parts of the game to review then baseball games could be slowed down dramatically. But as many know, baseball is already a slow-paced game, and fans already keep coming back through the 162 game season, instant replay may not affect them.

Allowing replays for ball and strike calls in baseball, holding penalties in football or contact under the hoop in basketball would lead to frequent stoppages. This leads to ongoing tension between those who want the use of instant replay expanded and those who don’t. While instant replay has certainly changed the sports world completely, fans are still unsure if it is for the better or, for the worse. With a few more years professional leagues will eventually find a way to implement the instant replay rule, while still keeping the game honest and exciting.

About the Contributors
Kelly Bickett, Sports Editor
Kelly is a senior this year and a returning member of the Fourth Estate staff. Kelly has been at Laguna Blanca for 12 years, and enjoys writing sports, which she is the editor of. Kelly is an all-around athlete, playing volleyball, soccer, beach volleyball, tennis, and all other sports.
Jack Stein, Managing Editor
Jack is a junior at Laguna Blanca School and is a returning member of the Fourth Estate Staff. He has received the Editorial Cartooning Prize from the National Scholastic Press Association and is the Management Editor. Jack also makes graphics, edits the magazine, and enjoys playing the guitar.
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