Refs say they'll keep using the pink whistles


by KING 5 News

Posted on October 22, 2010 at 7:12 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 22 at 7:23 PM

The Washington Officials Association may penalize high school football refs who use pink whistles without permission. Who do you side with on this?

KENT, Wash. – More than 100 Seattle-area high school football referees stood their ground Friday night and continued to use pink whistles. It's a defiance of the Washington Officials Association, which said no to the refs' play to raise awareness of breast cancer.

Gavin Anderson loves refereeing because it gives him the chance to be in the action but out of the spotlight.

"The best compliment is when people say they didn't even notice you," said Anderson.

But when he took to the field Friday night, there was one thing he wanted people to notice. Anderson and about 140 referees got together to make the call on their own to support breast cancer research. Every one of them has a personal connection to cancer.

"I have an aunt that's a three-time survivor of breast cancer," said Anderson.

WOA commissioner Todd Stordahl said using the pink whistles was a violation of the rules and deserved punishment. Now, he says he regrets coming out so strongly against it. He thinks people got the wrong impression.

"WOA deeply regrets that there's any perception that we don't support any breast cancer programs," said Stordahl. He says the issue is about following the proper chain of command, something he says the refs did not do.

"As someone who follows sports, that's all that we have are rules, regulations and interpretations," said Stordahl.

None of the refs are likely to lose their jobs, but the commissioners will most likely meet after the season to decide if any action should be taken against the referees.