Wednesday, March 13, 2013

6.16.8 The use of obscene, profane, or abusive language or gestures directed at a mascot, announcer, audience member, or other bout production individuals.

Today's rule comes from the Misconduct section, and is a major penalty. This rule has been revised a bit from the previous version of the rules. In the previous version this rule penalized skaters for obscene, profane, or abusive language directed at an "official, mascot, and announcer". This caused many to question about other people that didn't fit into that category, such as photographers, track repair people, security, etc. Those people have now been address in the current version of the rules. While officials have been removed from this rule and moved to their own Insubordination rule, this rule now includes audience members and bout production individuals. Photographers, security personnel, and track repair people would now be consider "bout production individual". Yes, there are some who may argue that a photographer isn't necessary to produce a bout, and thus aren't included in this rule. That argument is weak, since the referees have the discretion to penalize using the rules as a guideline, and a photographer certainly falls into the same group as announcers, mascots, and bout production individuals. Interestingly, audience members have been added to this rule. This means that a skater may no longer shout back to spectators who may yell at them (not sure if it was happening before, but it certainly may not happen now). As well, an overzealous skater who, while trying to pump up the crowd, shouts "f&*( yeah!" at the audience and is overheard by a referee, will receive a penalty.

It must be noted that this rule is pretty specific, and doesn't allow an official to have a "thick skin". While a mascot, announcer, audience member, or bout production individual may not be personally offended by obscene, profane, or abusive language or gestures directed at them, if it happens, then a penalty must be issued. This rule is not contingent on feelings being hurt, or someone being offended. Common sense must be applied to determine just what is considered obscene, profane, or abusive, but it really shouldn't be that difficult to figure out.