I had dragged myself into a pointless side topic on the referee forum of Big Soccer while discussing the current situation regarding PSRA, PRO and MLS.
It felt as though some of the posters were vilifying the replacement refs as nefarious individuals. I felt the replacement refs could have legit reasons and they didn't deserve the mudslinging. While pointing that out I brought up how PRSA refs don't always make good decisions themselves.
One of my examples was the incident from last year where Corey Rockwell, the AR for the 10/13/2013 Sounders at Timbers match, reportedly signed and threw a red card into the stands after the game.
Corey actually took the time to create an account on BigSoccer and post a response. I feel it is worth sharing.
Hi! "Long time listener, first time caller."
Given PRO had me talk about this incident at the 2014 MLS pre-season referee camp and this is public record, I will share what I told them (with a little more insight).
First, I do apologize to anyone I offended by this incident. When PRO called me last year to inform me an official complaint had been logged with them, I couldn't sleep for 2 nights as this weighed heavy on my mind that my action did something detrimental to fans and to MLS.
For background, I have been giving away stuff to fans since my first year in the league. For the first 7 years, I gave away coins. I would buy ~$100 worth of coins from Official Sports before the season started and gave one away a coin after every game.
I ran out of coins a few years ago and was at a game and I had no coin to give this young fan at a Chivas game. Since all I had was my YC in my pocket, I gave him this and his eyes lit up. Since then and for over two years, I have given away cards for 2 reasons: 1) Kids seem to like them better than coins and 2) Because I am cheap.. I realized a YC and a RC cost the same as a coin.. I could save half my money! I'll post a picture on twitter later from a game 2 years ago with some kids holding the cards I gave them as an example.
Before each game, I pick a card (50% chance YC, 50% chance RC). On one side, I write the teams, date, and I sign it. The other side, I use to record information during the game (kickoff, goals, and misconduct). That way, the fan has a choice of which side they like better.
After the game, I find a young fan to give the card to. Despite all my days of playing disc golf in college, I must have missed my target. Either that, or she gave the card to her dad from this particular game. If only I had better aim, if only I had picked a YC out of my bag instead of a red before the game, and if only the person in the picture displayed the other side of the card... anyway... The picture goes on twitter (with the signature side clearly showing my name), complaint filed, etc.
So, no more signed cards any more after games. Now, I just sign Baldomero Toldeo's name to the cards I give away ;-)
And with great reverence to Paul Harvey....
"And now you know THE REST OF THE STORY."