Monday, March 11, 2013

6.14.3 The use of obscene, profane, or abusive language or gestures directed at an official.

Today's rule is an Insubordination major penalty. Previously, this rule included mascots and audience members, and existed in the Misconduct section. In the current version of the rules, this rule was put into the Insubordination section, while a similar rule that covers mascots and announcers still exists in the Misconduct section. Something important about this rule is that it is pretty straightforward, in a sense. If a skater uses obscene, profane, or abusive language directed at an official (referee or NSO), they will receive a major penalty. What doesn't factor into whether this penalty is issued is how the official reacts to it. Basically, if a referee has "thick skin", that should not be a reason to not penalize a skater. Even if an official is not personally insulted by the language or gesture, if it meets the definition of obscene, abusive, or profane, then a penalty should be issued. Certainly, the interpretation of obscene, profane, or abusive may vary among officials, however there is a certain point at which all officials are certainly on the same page. Words that are considered swear words (you know which they are) are certainly in the profane category. Use of language that refers to body parts by slang will typically be considered obscene. And of course, any threatening language will be considered abusive.

It must be noted that just using this language will not earn a skater a penalty. The illegal language or gestures must be directed at an official. So, if a skater looks a ref in the eye and says "that was %^&*ed up", they will receive a penalty. However, if the skater were to look at the floor and say the same thing, no penalty.