Game On…with Rob Kriete – MARCH 24

There is a classic Seinfeld episode wherein Jerry wants to return a purchased jacket to the store and when asked why he wanted to return the item, he replies that he wants to return it for spite. The manager retorts that spite is not an acceptable reason to return an item, and comedic hijinks ensue.

This week, NHL referee Tim Peel was caught on a hot microphone (folks, after doing a stint as the play-by-play voice of the AAL Tampa Bay Tornadoes, always assume mics are hot!) saying he was looking to call a penalty on the Nashville Predators in their win over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night. He did so very early on with a (potentially questionable) tripping call against Nashville’s Viktor Arvidsson. The Nashville broadcast captured audio from Peel saying, “it wasn’t much, but I wanted to get a f****** penalty against Nashville early.”

Happily, the NHL announced that Peel will no longer referee any future games and will investigate the matter. The reason for Peel looking for a penalty is unknown, at this time.

As sports fans, we recognize the human element of our professional sports. Whether it is calling balls and strikes, or calling penalties, we all know that mistakes are made with call and non-calls. However, we want the human element to be organic and not wrought with favoritism, preconceived ideas, or plain spite! Officiating professional sports is certainly challenging, but spiteful calls are downright criminal.


If sports fans cannot trust that officials are committed to impartial, fair, and consistent work, the cash-machines that these leagues have become will evaporate quickly. Kudos to the NHL for a swift response to the nonsense that has no place in any league at any time.

Do you trust that officials are impartial? How do we keep the human element of our games while protecting the integrity of the games? Let me know what you think.

Frankly, I never see a reason to act spitefully, in any walk of life. When has spite helped anyone or anything at any time? It hasn’t.

Cheers to spite-free referees, sports fans, and human beings! Be safe, everyone.