The guys in the striped shirts with the whistles are paid to be right a lot more than they are wrong, to know every rule backward and forward and to instantly judge whether what they just saw is allowed or not allowed. It’s a rough job, since no matter what you do, you’re going to be equally loved and hated every night.
Pat Adams made the right call on Thursday. And he made the right call to call the right call.
How many times have we seen whistles swallowed in that situation? With a team playing for a last-second shot, as long as the opponent doesn’t belt the shooter with a 2x4, the whistle won’t blow. I’ve often thought that came about because the refs don’t want to put themselves in even more of a crosshair by directly affecting the result of the game, whether it’s right or wrong.
It was a foul. Ladarius White had Ty Johnson’s shooting arm pinned as Johnson tried to get a shot off, and that’s a foul no matter how you look at it. Johnson deserved to be going to the line to shoot those free throws, which completed as unlikely a comeback as you’ll ever see (and nearly made everyone forget 35 rotten minutes of basketball before it).
But deserve, as has been shown so often, doesn’t have anything to do with it. If Adams hadn’t seen it, or had seen it and chose to let it go, South Carolina is home right now and Ole Miss isn’t sweating Selection Sunday.
This isn’t meant to say Pat Adams is a hero. He did his job, that’s all. He did it well.
But if you’re a Gamecock fan, perhaps you have a new name for your Christmas card list.