There have always been “unwritten rules” of professionalism and sportsmanship in sports. They are instilled in us as children and thought of as dirty or unnecessary moves. From how to act in certain situations to learning when or when not to turn the killer instinct on, there are rules that typically do not need to be spoken out loud more than once. Recently, there was an outbreak of punches and shoves thrown during an NBA game that made me want to touch on some of my favorite unwritten sports rules…rules in which are essentially never broken…until they are..
So here’s the quick run down. Knicks are losing at home, badly. Grizzlies come down, under a minute left, and drain a 3. The score at this point is 124-106, Grizzlies on top. MIND YOU.. the Grizzlies are in New York, up 18, under a minute left. The unwritten rule here: “don’t run up the score when you’re up big with only a few minutes left”. Some fans see it as classless, others see it as “playing until the last whistle.”
Elfird Payton watched Jae Crowder steal the in-bounds pass and attempt to shoot a 3 in the corner, and we all quickly learned how he felt about that. A nasty shove occurred, knocking Jae to the hardwood. The teams had to be separated after exchanging words and shoves. What in the world was Jae thinking? I’ve thought about this now since Wednesday and he’s lucky Payton only gave him a big-boy shove and nothing more. Yikes, Jae. Welcome to Bryan’s 2020 most hated players list…
List of My Top Unwritten Sports Rules + Examples
- Running up the score late in a game – Scoring on last play when leading by an unwinnable margin.
- See example above of Grizz/Knicks
- Bunting to break up a pitcher’s perfect game/no hitter
- Erick Aybar tried this back in 2011 to break up Justin Verlander’s no-hitter. YIKES. Imagine being the guy who broke up this amazing day by sneaking in a bunt.. how CLASSLESS!
- Coaches COACH. They don’t interact with opposing players.
- This one is funny to me. I have seen coaches only talk to their players in my sports past, but sometimes you see interactions between players and coaches of different teams. Why? Some coaches used to be ex-players themselves so the fire and desire to win can be overwhelming. The example that comes to mind is back in 2013 when the Head Coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers Mike Tomlin lackadaisically moved “out” of the way of BAL Raven kickoff returner Jacoby Jones on a return DURING a game. While this isn’t a verbal interaction, it was clear Tomlin’s actions directly affected the play as Jones was tripped up shortly after Tomlin’s interference. In videos, you can see Tomlin was actually standing on the field until he noticed Jones approaching. Crazy stuff.
- Kicking the ball out of play/stopping play when a soccer injury occurs
- While soccer is becoming widely known for “flopping” , or fake injuries, there has always been an understanding that play stops when someone goes down. This is out of respect for the player as some soccer injuries can be pretty brutal. As the injured player comes back to play, the game resumes as the team who had the ball now gets the ball back. Should be simple, right? The examples I have found where this is NOT what happens are in links below for your enjoyment.