Pink whistle dustup: WOA boss takes breast cancer penalty too far | Sidelines

As a father of three, I know that you have to handle each kid a little differently.

Sure, you have your golden rules that everyone has to follow. Things like keeping your room clean, being well-mannered and absolutely, positively no back-talking to mom or dad.

But, much like a coach, you have your “special” rules for each kid or player. Sometimes you just have to look the other way when one of your kids does something you don’t agree with as a parent.

And that’s just what the Washington Officials Association (WOA) and its commissioner, Todd Stordahl, should have done earlier this week. They should have looked the other way.

On Tuesday, the WOA and Stordahl penalized a group of 143 Washington high school football officials for using pink whistles instead of the regulation black or silver during a weekend of games last October to raise awareness for breast cancer research. The officials even donated their checks to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the games in which they wore pink whistles.

After a seven-month delay, Stordahl and the association decided to ban the 143 officials from working most postseason games during the next two years — and put them on probation for the next three — because the pink whistles weren’t in compliance with the WOA’s dress code. They also didn’t ask for permission to wear the whistles supporting breast cancer research.

“It sends the wrong message to kids that are playing the game,” Stordahl said last fall when the flap started. “‘If they broke the rules, why can’t I do the same.”’

Obviously, Stordahl was offended that the officials didn’t come to him first to ask permission to wear the pink whistles. I have no idea what he is like as a person. I’m almost positive he’s not against cancer research and is, most likely, a power-tripping boss (we’ve all had these) who wants to control everything.

The WOA and Stordahl previously approved a blue flags football weekend in support of prostate cancer awareness, as well as pink whistle events in volleyball, soccer and basketball.

He should have just had a closed-door meeting with the officials in question and made it clear that they needed to come to him with requests like this in the future.

Simple enough, right?

“We appreciate what these referees were trying to do, and we were sorry to hear about the sanctions for supporting breast cancer programs in Washington State,” said Andrea Rader, a spokesman for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, to the Associated Press.


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