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Hey Ted Valentine: Great Idea

College basketball fans would probably take up a collection and send you on a cruise if you actually would retire.

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Georgia Tech v Duke
DURHAM, NC - JANUARY 04: Referee Ted Valentine (L) talks with associate head coach Jeff Capel of the Duke Blue Devils during the game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Cameron Indoor Stadium on January 4, 2017 in Durham, North Carolina.
Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

Apparently Ted Valentine is offended that people were offended by his behavior towards Joel Berry in the UNC-Florida State game the other night.

It’s hard to feel much sympathy, but here’s what Valentine has to say for himself: “I’m thinking about retiring,” Valentine told the Athletic. “I’ve had enough of people blowing up stuff. I think I’ve had a stellar career, and I think it’s time to get ready to walk away.”

He’s also unhappy with Jay Bilas, who tweeted this after the incident: “Wow. An official in the UNC-FSU game literally turned his back on a four-year player trying to speak with him after a dead ball timeout. And, officials talk about players showing officials up. Ridiculous.”

Valentine: “It was just something that happened in the battle of the game. It’s not really worth talking about. Everybody reacted to what Jay Bilas wrote on Twitter. He made a comment about something and he didn’t see the whole thing. This is the world we live in. Everybody wants to make you guilty before you’re innocent.”

This is the referee version of the roof is the ceiling.

Bilas: “I was watching the game live. It’s unfortunate he feels bad about it, but there’s no question that what happened was inappropriate. Was it a capital offense? No. I wasn’t calling on anyone to be suspended, but when a senior captain addresses an official and the official literally turns his back and folds his arms and looks in the other direction, I mean, I’ve never seen it before.”

Valentine said he has been taking conflict resolution classes and his intent was to avoid/defuse conflict with Berry.

But here’s the problem with this whole stupid issue. You’re not supposed to notice the officials. Yes you might not like a call but for the most part, the officials just manage the game, do their job and go home.

We don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about them, unless something unusual happens, and for the most part, people don’t even know who they are. Some of us pay attention of course, and obviously the coaches have to know who they’re dealing with, but in a perfect world, it’s like kabuki. They stop the game when they need to, enforce the rules and keep things honest and efficient.

Valentine has always liked to call attention to himself. He had a notorious run-in with Bob Knight in 1998 which people (mostly in Indiana) still talk about.

In 2011, he got in Mick Cronin’s face as the Cincinnati coach argued a call. Understand: Valentine confronted the coach, not the other way around.

Look, it’s understandable for referees to have big egos, especially the really good ones. No one ever said Hank Nichols lacked confidence. Locally, Lou Bello retired as an official and started doing TV sports news for Channel 28. He was pretty full of himself and not in a bad way. He was exuberant and always thought he was right.

But you’re not the show. You’re never the show. And when you start to see yourself as the center of attention, you’re frankly out of control and probably, yes, it is time for you to step away.

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