Jul 19, 2006

In the Land of the Blind, the One-Eyed Man is King

At least 42 million times during the fall, the Midwestern college football fan will ask, shout, scream, and ponder the following (expletives not included): are BigTen refs half-blind or just stupid.
Well wouldn’t ya know it, the Big Integer employed a referee that is literally half-blind. Whether he is stupid or not is up for debate.
Let me preface this by saying that the conference should be commended for hiring a man whose eyes were in working order nearly 13 years ago. I have to assume an eye exam was apart of the interview process and all employed referees pass with flying colors. Having said that, I wish I had four arms so I could give four hearty thumbs down to the Big 10 for lack of institutional control (I know that phrase, too, NCAA!).
Leela.pngYou see, In the spring of 2000, referee James Filson lost his eye when it “ran into” the corner of a table. Rather than be a man of integrity and do the honorable thing, Filson opted against telling his bosses about his injury. Instead, he kept things on the low and went back to work as if nothing was wrong. Now, this type of move isn’t so dishonorable if you’re, say, a lawyer or a plumber or Sammy fucking Davis. But when you have a job where the quality of vision and your brain’s ability to analyze and interpret what is seen is of paramount importance, you just don’t say, “Bah! Two eyes are for chumps!” and brush it off! There are things to consider – depth perception, peripheral vision, ability to focus. If you’re a born cyclops, maybe these aren’t issues of importance but in the world of non-mutant humanity, the loss of an eye is a pretty big deal! Or maybe not.
In Filson’s 5 years as the pirate ref, he officiated two Bowl games and his reviews were, “on average, substantially better than the reviews he received in the eight years preceeding the loss of his eye.” But it made no difference once Lllllllllllllloyd Carr got wind of Filson’s “disability.” He advised the Big Ten Commissioner and soon after, Filson had a pink slip due to his lack of “full field vision” and failure to “to fulfill the minimum physical requirements.” Like most people these days, Filson is a litigious soul and is suing to get his job back, as well as back pay and unspecified damages.
Only in the Big Ten can a referee lose an eye, see an improvement in his on the job reviews, and then get the boot. I wish I could be on the jury for this one to laugh at the BigTen and their arguments. As far as I’m concerned, it is they who should be fired for employing a referee with a glass eye for nearly six years and not noticing. Fucking wankers.


  • has Carr ever been so mindful to run straight to the NCAA and report something? Maybe this guy is friends with JoePa and he’s getting back at the old man for having Ann Arbor native refs banned from UM games.

  • So once you get hired you’re just in for life? WTF! I can’t believe they aren’t givin these dudes physicals and eye tests before every season. No wonder their refs aren’t for shit.

  • maybe losing an eye is like losing your hearing or something. Maybe your other senses enhance and that makes you 10 times the referee you were before. You can just sense that there’s a pass interference!

  • I’m just really shocked to see that there are no physical standards or checkups. B10 reffing is god awful but this conference can’t be the only one where shit like this is happening.

  • Before you jump to uninformed conclusions, you might want to actually check the performance of Mr. Filson after he lost his eye. You might have seen the Orange Bowl,Miami vs. Florida St., when the ESPN annoucers got all over Filson for an offensive pass interference call he made with late in the 4th quater. But, the slow-motion replay showed that Filson with one eye got the call right. Isn’t it more important that he is a good official rather than the fact that he only has one eye?

  • In his case it’s great that he’s a good official. But the fact that you can get away with having one eye in a job like this and no one notice is a real problem. There’s a reason God gave us 2 eyes. We need them. This guy might have learned to deal with his disability but that doesn’t make it okay for him not to tell anybody and just assume he’s as good as he was before.


I am a jaded, sarcastic girl prone to unreasonable fits of rage. This site is my outlet. I am not classy, nice, or fair. It's best you know that up front.


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