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Referee bashing-get it stopped!


meast

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The bit I don't understand is, why the finger of blame is always pointed at the individual ref, rather than the people in charge of them?

The game has lost so many experienced referees since Ganson took charge, amid allegations of bullying, homophobia and lack of support amongst the reasons. Yet, to my knowledge there has never been an investigation to root out and fix these issues. Now we are left with a bunch of young inexperienced kids and wonder why they aren't very good.

I have not seen any initiatives to recruit more refs, or attempts to get those that have left back, if only in an advisory capacity or as 4th officials etc. 

Sorry, but Kendall is not a good ref, but he is not on his own. He was poor when he started refereeing, which could be counter argued with he lacked experience. But what is the excuse now he is experienced and he hasn't improved?

However, I'm not sure his lack of improvement is his fault though.

Personally, I think the people who are getting paid to coach and improve him and the other officials, also have a lot to answer for. The interpretations and some of rules do not help the ref's either. Who knows, with the right coaching, maybe Kendall will make a good ref eventually.

I know I will probably be lambasted for these comments, but if players are consistently poor, they are dropped for someone better. If there is nobody better, then the question should be asked, - what needs to be done and what is happening to rectify the situation.

IMHO the standard of refereeing was far better when MacCallum was in charge.

Just like some have already stated, standards start at the top, the same goes for the officials. Fix the top and it should cascade down the ranks. 

 

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11 minutes ago, DOGFATHER said:

The bit I don't understand is, why the finger of blame is always pointed at the individual ref, rather than the people in charge of them?

The game has lost so many experienced referees since Ganson took charge, amid allegations of bullying, homophobia and lack of support amongst the reasons. Yet, to my knowledge there has never been an investigation to root out and fix these issues. Now we are left with a bunch of young inexperienced kids and wonder why they aren't very good.

I have not seen any initiatives to recruit more refs, or attempts to get those that have left back, if only in an advisory capacity or as 4th officials etc. 

Sorry, but Kendall is not a good ref, but he is not on his own. He was poor when he started refereeing, which could be counter argued with he lacked experience. But what is the excuse now he is experienced and he hasn't improved?

However, I'm not sure his lack of improvement is his fault though.

Personally, I think the people who are getting paid to coach and improve him and the other officials, also have a lot to answer for. The interpretations and some of rules do not help the ref's either. Who knows, with the right coaching, maybe Kendall will make a good ref eventually.

I know I will probably be lambasted for these comments, but if players are consistently poor, they are dropped for someone better. If there is nobody better, then the question should be asked, - what needs to be done and what is happening to rectify the situation.

IMHO the standard of refereeing was far better when MacCallum was in charge.

Just like some have already stated, standards start at the top, the same goes for the officials. Fix the top and it should cascade down the ranks. 

 

How do you define a good ref?

What in your opinion makes a ref good or bad?

Genuine questions as we all have different thoughts and opinions.

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That smacks of "rugby were better then". The game, the players and referees are all immeasurably faster, fitter and better now than ever before.

 

I'm guilty as any as calling out bad calls in the past, but in the last couple of seasons I've made a conscious effort not to do it - only once have I thought a ref had a bad game that influenced the decision, and his call was less important than the mistakes either team made.

 

Any fan who slates the ref should take up the whistle, they are always running refs courses and always looking for new officials - though I am always surprised there isnt a player pathway into reffing, maybe clubs need to take responsibility for a refs academy too?

 

My only thought that does need to change is VR at all games, right now it's a two tier game in SL and games with VR are reffed differently than without (Giants v Salford, giants lose the game without the VR for example, and as one of the least televised games it can make a difference)

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10 hours ago, meast said:

How do you define a good ref?

What in your opinion makes a ref good or bad?

Genuine questions as we all have different thoughts and opinions.

Personally, consistency is the main thing to define a good ref. If the ref remains consistent throughout the game, it allows teams to adapt to ensure they do not keep giving penalties away. If they don't and end up with players in the bin and the ref is consistent, it is the team's fault, not the refs. Things will be missed and mistakes will be made and I'm fine with that, ref's are human.

The issue with most refs is the arbitrary nature of lots of penalties they award. How can teams adapt, if the ref is blowing things up at random? With some refs, it just feels like they are shaking a magic 8 ball to decide whether to blow the whistle and give a penalty.

For example, do you remember the first penalty of the SL season, for not playing the ball with the foot? I've not seen another penalty for that this season, so why did Moore blow that one up under the posts? It is things like that, that leaves them open to criticism and calls they are biased, especially when these random calls decide the game.

 

 

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I’m not sure why referees should be absolved of any criticism, we as fans are the first to criticise player performances and coaching performances, so questioning the performance of a referee is no different and is fine with me. It’s when it gets personal and is just vitriolic abuse that it’s completely wrong, much like the comment on the OP, that’s just abuse, that’s not criticism, it’s just a personal attack on someone. 

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1 hour ago, DOGFATHER said:

Personally, consistency is the main thing to define a good ref. If the ref remains consistent throughout the game, it allows teams to adapt to ensure they do not keep giving penalties away. If they don't and end up with players in the bin and the ref is consistent, it is the team's fault, not the refs. Things will be missed and mistakes will be made and I'm fine with that, ref's are human.

The issue with most refs is the arbitrary nature of lots of penalties they award. How can teams adapt, if the ref is blowing things up at random? With some refs, it just feels like they are shaking a magic 8 ball to decide whether to blow the whistle and give a penalty.

For example, do you remember the first penalty of the SL season, for not playing the ball with the foot? I've not seen another penalty for that this season, so why did Moore blow that one up under the posts? It is things like that, that leaves them open to criticism and calls they are biased, especially when these random calls decide the game.

 

 

But what most fans don't appreciate is that the refs are speaking to the players consistently throughout the game, guiding them on ruck speed etc. And they often give them leeway or one or two strikes before penalising. So these penalties are rarely random.

The best refs communicate well with the players and i think Kendall has improved greatly over the last couple of years and is now a very good ref.

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17 hours ago, WakefieldCityLoyal said:

What’s the process at the moment if a club feels unfairly treated by a referee?

All clubs feel unfairly treated by the ref if they lose.

Perhaps the head coach of these clubs should tell his players to stop trying to slow down their opponents at the play the ball. Coach his players to always keep on side and to cut out the high shots.

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It'll never stop as it's ingrained in the game now, referees are the easiest target for coaches/fans/chairmen to take their frustrations out on.

We bang on about respect and being kind and mental health a lot these days but we are happy as a sport to see young men in their line of work literally kicked to death every weekend for usually 'perceived' mistakes and what fans and coaches think happened etc.

It's awful and i tend not to read the social media forums these days as i get so angry seeing some of the abuse aimed at our officials because someone's team lost !!

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The broadcasters do not help. I never watch union but when I did I was struck by the difference Sky commentators made when commentating on rugby games. Eddie and Stevo would be banging on about mistakes by officials ( often they were right) but similar mistakes were never pointed out by their union colleagues. They just accepted that the officials "we're always right".

To be fair Sky do not highlight those mistakes quite as often as they once did. I do not know how that compares these days as as I say I do not watch union.

The RFL could make a big start by highlighting the old adage.

Rule 1 The referee is always right.

Rule 2 Even if he mistakes an error, Rule 1 applies.

Rule 3 Any other comments are bringing the game into disrepute.

Ron Banks

Midlands Hurricanes and Barrow

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14 minutes ago, Bearman said:

The broadcasters do not help. I never watch union but when I did I was struck by the difference Sky commentators made when commentating on rugby games. Eddie and Stevo would be banging on about mistakes by officials ( often they were right) but similar mistakes were never pointed out by their union colleagues. They just accepted that the officials "we're always right".

To be fair Sky do not highlight those mistakes quite as often as they once did. I do not know how that compares these days as as I say I do not watch union.

The RFL could make a big start by highlighting the old adage.

Rule 1 The referee is always right.

Rule 2 Even if he mistakes an error, Rule 1 applies.

Rule 3 Any other comments are bringing the game into disrepute.

That’s because no one understands the rules in union! And the amount of knock ons that get ignored is staggering. 

Back on topic though, you’re right about the sky commentary team - the NRL certainly don’t focus on every minute decision and pull it apart

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I'm afraid I fundamentally disagree with the majority of posts in this thread. The referees in our sport are now professionals and should be subject to criticism like you would be in almost any other walk of life or profession.

To make them immune to such based on the fact that is isn't very nice, we may hypothetically struggle to recruit them in the future and fans sometimes take it a bit far, detracts from our game in my opinion.

How can it be fair that every other role within the sport is fair game but for me some of the consistently poorest performing members of Rugby League should be left alone regardless of any level of ineptitude.

They don't help themselves also by the fact that they are never held publicly accountable for any decision or mistake. Referees its seems are privately punished with examples of referees being demoted for periods of time, but even this is done in a clandestine manner, with the officials rarely willing to openly admit any fault either to clubs or fans and i'm afraid this simply isn't good enough.

I agree that criticism shouldn't ever be personal, but criticism of individual decisions or general performance by officials by Chairmen, Coaches or players for me is fully justifiable considering it in some cases there livelihood at stake.

 

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1 minute ago, Big Red Keev said:

I'm afraid I fundamentally disagree with the majority of posts in this thread. The referees in our sport are now professionals and should be subject to criticism like you would be in almost any other walk of life or profession.

To make them immune to such based on the fact that is isn't very nice, we may hypothetically struggle to recruit them in the future and fans sometimes take it a bit far, detracts from our game in my opinion.

How can it be fair that every other role within the sport is fair game but for me some of the consistently poorest performing members of Rugby League should be left alone regardless of any level of ineptitude.

They don't help themselves also by the fact that they are never held publicly accountable for any decision or mistake. Referees its seems are privately punished with examples of referees being demoted for periods of time, but even this is done in a clandestine manner, with the officials rarely willing to openly admit any fault either to clubs or fans and i'm afraid this simply isn't good enough.

I agree that criticism shouldn't ever be personal, but criticism of individual decisions or general performance by officials by Chairmen, Coaches or players for me is fully justifiable considering it in some cases there livelihood at stake.

 

Its not the refs fault if players are continually offside.

Its not the refs fault if opponents try to slow down the play the ball

Its not the refs fault is players commit head high tackles

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4 hours ago, DoubleD said:

But what most fans don't appreciate is that the refs are speaking to the players consistently throughout the game, guiding them on ruck speed etc. And they often give them leeway or one or two strikes before penalising. So these penalties are rarely random.

The best refs communicate well with the players and i think Kendall has improved greatly over the last couple of years and is now a very good ref.

I realise and partially agree with your point about communication, it is very obvious on the televised games, and at live games watching the team I support, what the refs are doing, you can here the ref most of the time at our games, (we are not very well supported ? ). Communicating correctly is very important, but again it needs to be consistent and it needs to be done correctly. 

However, in lots of cases I think communication has gone too far, there is too much of it, and it is very inconsistent. It is too pally pally, calling some players by name, it breeds familiarity, which can lead to a lack of respect and discipline. 

What was wrong with calling players over by their number, and using simple calls, for example "held" or just the tackle number?  Defenders either got off or got penalised, simple, everyone knew where they stood, so why complicate it? The coaching refs are expected to do now, is giving them too much to think about, and do during the game, which does not help them to do their job, and ultimately allows for too much influence on the outcome of games. Let refs concentrate on what they are paid to do, they are not coaches, so why make them to do it? 

For example, we sometimes have calls of [tackle number], Held, Hold, Hold, Release, Get off him XXXXX but no penalty for some tackles, it can take an eternity for the ruck to be cleared and the defense is then set. In other tackles in the same game, with attacking players landing in the same position [ball carrying arm hits the deck], all you hear is a "release" call from the ref, nothing else, and a penalty given, if players are not off and away in a nano second, there was a few good examples in the Saints game, and I see it frequently in most games.

I have also noticed a few refs lacking consistently with the defensive lines too, some regularly taking one team back 15 meters, but taking the other back 8-10 meters throughout the game. It's amazing how often the team being taken back 15 meters regularly loses the game...

As I said above, all I ask for is consistency for 80 minutes. If they are playing a rule, play it all game, not just for a 5 minute burst at the beginning or part way through a game, then give up with it, which is quite obviously happening in most games now.

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23 hours ago, Copa said:

Reffing is both an art and a science. Errors happen. If people can’t handle that then perhaps rugby league isn’t for them.

To much critical examination by camera these days, the pantomime it's become is IMO slowly helping to pull the seams apart.

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14 hours ago, DOGFATHER said:

The bit I don't understand is, why the finger of blame is always pointed at the individual ref, rather than the people in charge of them?

The game has lost so many experienced referees since Ganson took charge, amid allegations of bullying, homophobia and lack of support amongst the reasons. Yet, to my knowledge there has never been an investigation to root out and fix these issues. Now we are left with a bunch of young inexperienced kids and wonder why they aren't very good.

I have not seen any initiatives to recruit more refs, or attempts to get those that have left back, if only in an advisory capacity or as 4th officials etc. 

Sorry, but Kendall is not a good ref, but he is not on his own. He was poor when he started refereeing, which could be counter argued with he lacked experience. But what is the excuse now he is experienced and he hasn't improved?

However, I'm not sure his lack of improvement is his fault though.

Personally, I think the people who are getting paid to coach and improve him and the other officials, also have a lot to answer for. The interpretations and some of rules do not help the ref's either. Who knows, with the right coaching, maybe Kendall will make a good ref eventually.

I know I will probably be lambasted for these comments, but if players are consistently poor, they are dropped for someone better. If there is nobody better, then the question should be asked, - what needs to be done and what is happening to rectify the situation.

IMHO the standard of refereeing was far better when MacCallum was in charge.

Just like some have already stated, standards start at the top, the same goes for the officials. Fix the top and it should cascade down the ranks. 

 

The standard was the best under Fred Lindop. He had a fair system of impartial assessors at every game all of whom scored referees and those marks collated monthly determined who got games on form.

Recent years the focus has been on marking referees down for the penalties that they don't give which is the wrong culture to help referees develop to there potential and help create a game that flows.

Forget Chuck and Chad I am the real legend killer

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56 minutes ago, The Future is League said:

Its not the refs fault if players are continually offside.

Its not the refs fault if opponents try to slow down the play the ball

Its not the refs fault is players commit head high tackles

It is the referees fault if they inconsistently, often inexplicably and sporadically punish these offences.

Also players who commit these offences are subject to media criticism, therefore so should the referees be.

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1 hour ago, Big Red Keev said:

I'm afraid I fundamentally disagree with the majority of posts in this thread. The referees in our sport are now professionals and should be subject to criticism like you would be in almost any other walk of life or profession.

To make them immune to such based on the fact that is isn't very nice, we may hypothetically struggle to recruit them in the future and fans sometimes take it a bit far, detracts from our game in my opinion.

How can it be fair that every other role within the sport is fair game but for me some of the consistently poorest performing members of Rugby League should be left alone regardless of any level of ineptitude.

They don't help themselves also by the fact that they are never held publicly accountable for any decision or mistake. Referees its seems are privately punished with examples of referees being demoted for periods of time, but even this is done in a clandestine manner, with the officials rarely willing to openly admit any fault either to clubs or fans and i'm afraid this simply isn't good enough.

I agree that criticism shouldn't ever be personal, but criticism of individual decisions or general performance by officials by Chairmen, Coaches or players for me is fully justifiable considering it in some cases there livelihood at stake.

 

Whilst I understand this sentiment, it really doesn't mean an awful lot. 

Making referees "publically accountable" doesn't actually address the root cause of whatever it is that referees have done wrong in the first place. Every referee, in every play in every game, makes a series of decisions based on how they interpret what they see at the time - it really is as simple as that. 

Sometimes, they will interpret a situation incorrectly. Sometimes they will not see an incident. Neither of these issues will ever be solved by "making referees accountable". 

You can however mitigate those issues by making the job of the officials easier, either by providing assistance through technology or by adding more human resources, as they have in the NRL. Again, neither of those issues are solved by "making referees accountable". 

So what people want when they say "make referees accountable" is not to improve the standard of officiating or to make the job of officiating easier, but to instead give players, fans and coaches a human punchbag on which to vent their frustrations and deflect their own failings onto. Ian Watson made a big point in his press conference on Saturday about his meeting request with Steve Ganson, but he seemed much less willing to talk about the various missed tackles, handling errors and bad reads made by his players - because those issues fall on him and if his players can't pass, catch, tackle or read a line, then it puts his job at risk. 

If we do have problems with the standard of match officials, we'll never solve this by bullying or shaming them into improving.  

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3 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

Whilst I understand this sentiment, it really doesn't mean an awful lot. 

Making referees "publically accountable" doesn't actually address the root cause of whatever it is that referees have done wrong in the first place. Every referee, in every play in every game, makes a series of decisions based on how they interpret what they see at the time - it really is as simple as that. 

Sometimes, they will interpret a situation incorrectly. Sometimes they will not see an incident. Neither of these issues will ever be solved by "making referees accountable". 

You can however mitigate those issues by making the job of the officials easier, either by providing assistance through technology or by adding more human resources, as they have in the NRL. Again, neither of those issues are solved by "making referees accountable". 

So what people want when they say "make referees accountable" is not to improve the standard of officiating or to make the job of officiating easier, but to instead give players, fans and coaches a human punchbag on which to vent their frustrations and deflect their own failings onto. Ian Watson made a big point in his press conference on Saturday about his meeting request with Steve Ganson, but he seemed much less willing to talk about the various missed tackles, handling errors and bad reads made by his players - because those issues fall on him and if his players can't pass, catch, tackle or read a line, then it puts his job at risk. 

If we do have problems with the standard of match officials, we'll never solve this by bullying or shaming them into improving.  

To be honest mate, I'm not sure i totally agree. Its fair to say that holding referees accountable in isolation wont necessarily improve performance on its own. 

However negative reinforcement is one of the most widely used tools for improving performance. 

As i have said elsewhere I'm not advocating open season on referees as a tool to detract from a losing teams failings.

But I fundamentally disagree with the notion that they cant be publicly criticized when all others in the game dont enjoy the same privilege.

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5 minutes ago, Big Red Keev said:

To be honest mate, I'm not sure i totally agree. Its fair to say that holding referees accountable in isolation wont necessarily improve performance on its own. 

However negative reinforcement is one of the most widely used tools for improving performance. 

As i have said elsewhere I'm not advocating open season on referees as a tool to detract from a losing teams failings.

But I fundamentally disagree with the notion that they cant be publicly criticized when all others in the game dont enjoy the same privilege.

When do coaches publicly criticise players? Almost never. They protect them. But they’re happy to take free reign at refs, who have far less impact on the outcome of the game and also aren’t in a position to defend themselves 

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41 minutes ago, Big Red Keev said:

To be honest mate, I'm not sure i totally agree. Its fair to say that holding referees accountable in isolation wont necessarily improve performance on its own. 

However negative reinforcement is one of the most widely used tools for improving performance. 

As i have said elsewhere I'm not advocating open season on referees as a tool to detract from a losing teams failings.

But I fundamentally disagree with the notion that they cant be publicly criticized when all others in the game dont enjoy the same privilege.

In what way does "negative reinforcement" help referees see things that they didn't previously see? How does it help them interpret things, that they thought at the time were correct, differently?  That argument pre-supposes that they are either ignoring things that they do see or knowingly interpreting them incorrectly. 

Public criticism of match officials is one thing, and we already have that. However, this entire argument about "being able to critique referees" doesn't actually have any coherent argument for how it addresses a supposed issue with poor refereeing standards - and it flies in the face of a huge amount of evidience that such public criticism makes the problem worse. 

Honestly, the sooner people stop obsessing about match officials, the more they'll actually start to enjoy the game. If people watching, playing and coaching in this sport can't have the maturity to understand and accept that sometimes referees will get things wrong, then professional sport is beyond their intellect. 

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The referees are not the problem in our game - the players and coaches are. They try and cheat way too much and then take their anger out on the fact the ref missed a bit of their opponents cheating but saw some of their cheating - they word that to the media as the ref being 'inconsistent'. Then there's the elements that are genuinely open to interpretation and therefore the ref makes the judgement - the players and coaches will offer their interpretation as fact and again they get to do that through the media. Now i'm not suggesting the refs should start doing media after games but because the players and coaches are it helps create a false narrative that because there were complaints about the ref then the ref actually made mistakes. When you think about it, how badly wrong can a referee get it? - if it's for a try then 9 times out of 10 they rightly refer it to the big screen and therefore out of their hands. Any accusations of serious foul play that the ref isn't 100 percent on go on report. So the elements most coaches/players moan about are around the ruck - the area most players are coached to do their best cheating. 

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34 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

In what way does "negative reinforcement" help referees see things that they didn't previously see? How does it help them interpret things, that they thought at the time were correct, differently?  That argument pre-supposes that they are either ignoring things that they do see or knowingly interpreting them incorrectly. 

Public criticism of match officials is one thing, and we already have that. However, this entire argument about "being able to critique referees" doesn't actually have any coherent argument for how it addresses a supposed issue with poor refereeing standards - and it flies in the face of a huge amount of evidience that such public criticism makes the problem worse. 

Honestly, the sooner people stop obsessing about match officials, the more they'll actually start to enjoy the game. If people watching, playing and coaching in this sport can't have the maturity to understand and accept that sometimes referees will get things wrong, then professional sport is beyond their intellect. 

"How does it help them interpret things, that they thought at the time were correct, differently?" If it is pointed out where they have made a mistake or misintepreted the rules then surely this will help them to improve an area of there performance and hopefully make fewer mistakes this is exactly what a referees assessor does. 

With regards to being "Obsessesd" with match officials im pretty sure this is the first time i have ever commented on a referee performance on this forum ever. All I said was they shouldnt be immune from public criticism. Surely that is reasonable?

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3 minutes ago, Big Red Keev said:

All I said was they shouldnt be immune from public criticism. Surely that is reasonable?

I think you make a valid point.

The referee is an integral part of the game. Occasionally, like coaches and players, they have a blinder. Conversely,  like coaches and players they are not immune from having a bad game and as such public discussion is appropriate. Keeping some proportion is the key.

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46 minutes ago, DoubleD said:

When do coaches publicly criticise players? Almost never. They protect them. But they’re happy to take free reign at refs, who have far less impact on the outcome of the game and also aren’t in a position to defend themselves 

Opposition players? then fairly regularly. Referees have opportunity to speak to the media, they choose not too. In fairness to them, why would they rock the boat they know next week they will be officiating regardless of performance.

I never said coaches or anyone for that matter should have free reign to say whatever they like, I said if the criticism is justified there shouldnt be anything preventing them from saying it publicly. If you consider that unreasonable thats up to you.

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