Sir James Lowes was red-carded by Cummings (either him or Russell Smith) for (rightly, IMO) thinking he was a winker, but (wrongly) expressing that opinion verbally. IIRC he was shown a yellow for dissent, rapidly upgraded to red when he accused the official of engaging onanistic activities as he stormed off...
Same holds now I guess as I had to admit at the time: the minute players can undermine the officials' authority is the day the game rapidly degenerates into a free-for-all. It is respect on the park for the officials that saves us from going the way soccer has. Except we talking much bigger, stronger, fitter and tougher guys to manage here. Leave voicing concerns about the official's parentage or right-handed activities to the crowd.
This presupposes he swore at the official, of course. If he just said something that sounded a bit like like "what a load of chuffing rollocks" to no-one in particular, then the red card would seem severe?
I'm still torn on this issue. Like I've said I'm feeling far from hard done to because I think it actually contributed to us getting a point and resulted in one of the best games I've seen for many a year.
It's funny because as a teacher I understand how the referee has made the decision. Some schools will operate a traffic light system that works in a similar way, you are given a warning and can get your name moved down to yellow (miss 5 minutes of play) and then if you persist will get your name moved to red and suffer further detention. On occasion, I have moved people to orange and then instantly to red but I will admit it has been due to irritation with them on my part. The system isn't designed to be used like that and is supposed to be emotionless really.
I saw that last night. It was yellow and then instantly became a red but Hock was stood literally 10 metres away at the time. That's why I'd still love to hear the RFL's version because I struggle to believe that this was why. If it is true it's hard to believe that it isn't related to who he is but like you say we can't condone real misconduct creeping into the game.
At the end of the day, I was more annoyed with Hock for doing it. I can't help but feel there might be a lack of respect at Widnes, his performances haven't suggested it but the amount of penalties have. If he really cared about the outcome and was trying his best would he be doing such senseless things? Would he have done that in a Grand Final? Is it the case that he is acting the big I am thinking he can do what he likes because it doesn't really matter to him.