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“NFL’s Tim Donaghy Scandal?”: Outraged Fans Label Referees As ‘Fixers’ After Controversial Call Against Terry McLaurin Costs Commanders the Win

Arjun Sukumaran

Tim Donaghy and Terry McLaurin

Referees in any sport are always under immense pressure, sometimes even more than players themselves. And NFL referees are no exception. A single bad call could turn the game upside down. Making them a target for all kinds of abuse and vilification. And that is the story coming out of Sunday’s game between the Washington Commanders and the New York Giants.

Sunday’s game featured the Commanders’ receiver, Terry McLaurin being flagged for an illegal formation foul, negating a Brian Robinson touchdown for the Commanders. On normal days, this event would be passed over as nothing more than a simple error made by a player under immense pressure. But McLaurin, who has never had an illegal formation foul called up against him, wasn’t going to let this slip.

After the game, McLaurin makes a startling revelation about the illegal formation foul called on him. “I felt like I was on the ball the entire time,” says McLaurin. “If you look through the game, I lined up there pretty much every play. I checked to see if I was good the first time and he was like, ‘Move up a little bit.’ So when I moved up, I checked to see if I was good, and he said I was good.”

And this wasn’t the only controversial call during the game. A couple of plays down the line, the Commanders’ receiver Curtis Samuel missed a chance to tie the game with an incomplete pass in the endzone. On closer look, however, it looks a lot like a pass interference foul from Giants’ cornerback Darnay Holmes. Holmes practically climbs on Samuel’s back, preventing the receiver from making the catch.

Also Read: Aaron Rodgers Loses yet Another Weapon As His $14 Million Receiver Sammy Watkins Is Being Released By The Packers

Refereeing error brings chilling flashbacks of NBA scandal, fans stunned

Fans on Twitter had already started connecting the dots way before McLaurin’s revelation about asking the referee. However, his statement brought forward a new wave of theories, including a very serious one. Fans are not shying away from speculating about a massive conspiracy, akin to the Tim Donaghy scandal that the NBA suffered from in 2007.

This is not the first time referees have been put under the spotlight this season for bad calls. Earlier this season, the NFL faced the wrath of fans when referees awarded roughing-the-passer calls a bit indiscriminately. Some of these calls changed how the entire game ended up, and fans were not happy at all.

The lack of a proper framework to decide when a foul should or should not be called is seemingly affecting the flow of games. Referees are given a wide berth to decide what might actually constitute a foul. But the lack of consistency throughout the season is apparent, and major game-changing calls are turning out to be ones that are contestable at best.

While the NFL is already under pressure for its porous concussion protocols, will the next big push result in a standardized playbook for referees?

Also Read: Tom Brady’s Leadership Questioned Yet Again After His $3 Million Running Back’s Unruly Conduct With The Media

About the author

Arjun Sukumaran

Arjun Sukumaran


Arjun Sukumaran is a writing consultant for NFL here at the SportsRush. A Mechanical Engineering graduate, his debating stints from his college days have become part and parcel of his life. He loves cheeseburgers, so naturally, he loves the Kansas City Chiefs. And you can definitely count him in the group of people claiming Patrick Mahomes to be the next big thing. When he is not wearing the Kansas Red and Gold, he can be spotted proudly sporting the Red and White of Manchester United, or the iconic Red Bull Blue.

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