Excerpt from article in Referee.com, October 24, 2018
When we sign up to be an official, we should understand there is a higher standard of behavior for our actions on the field or court. But what about when we are not wearing the uniform?
Like it or not officials are public figures, even at the amateur levels. People will sometimes recognize us as an official when we’re in public — even when we’re not in uniform. It isn’t uncommon for coaches and/or others to recognize our face or even our name.
It is not uncommon for coaches and fans from a game we officiate to recognize and approached us in a restaurant. This has happened to other officials – they are in the stands as a fan, there to enjoy the game and support a few friends who are about to call the game, when a complete stranger comes up and asks, “How would we like to be working this game?”
Those examples show that we are in the public eye whether or not we are calling a game, so we need to behave appropriately.
As A Fan
Represent officiating as we would want to be supported by fellow officials if we are working the game. Whether or not we have expertise in a particular sport, we should back the official(s) or refrain from commenting.
People will notice our actions in the stands. If we happen to be at a game and start yelling at an official, we will lose credibility. What stops a fan from seeing us do that and thinking it is acceptable? Maybe they will do the same to the officials or even to us when we officiate our next game.
On Social Media
Officials often have their own social media accounts and make regular posts. Remember, once we hit send there is no going back.
Be careful what we post on those sites about officiating. Refrain from making comments about officials in any sport. Avoid posting where we are working or about pending assignments. Don’t post about interactions with individuals (coaches, players, partners) whom we officiated.
The public eye is always watching.