Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Another questionable referee decision

Wherein instant replay should be the law

It's important during this time of World Cup griping to remember that incompetent referees and debatable calls are not just restricted to card-flipping morons. Every sport has their zebras we'd all like to see hunted down like the lion food they are.

The latest, apparently erroneous decision denied a scrappy newcomer his seat at the champion's table. Perhaps with review, he would have had his reversal of fortune:
Suddenly, Kobayashi appeared to regurgitate -- a move that results in automatic disqualification and that speed eating experts call "a reversal of fortune."

As Kobayashi lifted a cup of water to his mouth, a spray of bread chunks and wiener bits shot into his cup, which the 170-pound champion immediately gulped down. Chestnut, unable to spit out words, pointed and gestured toward judges to draw their attention to the slip.

"The judges found a quarter of a hot dog in his cup," said Patrick Chestnut, Joey's older brother who witnessed the spew from the front row as he cheered on his brother. "If that's not grounds for disqualification, what is?"

Gersh Kuntzman, the judge who ruled in Kobayashi's favor, saw it differently.

"The effluvia never touched the table," Kuntzman said, a distinction he claimed was part of the International Federation of Competitive Eating's official rules.

"When the hot dog came up, and some of it came out his nose, Kobayashi sucked it back down. To me, that's the testament of a champion and great athlete."

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