In support of this year’s monumental social justice movements that have captivated our country in recent months, the ACC Football Officials Association (ACCFOA) Board of Directors has unanimously decided to have all officials wear black wristbands, printed with the message “Blow the Whistle on Injustice”, in support of the fight against racism and injustice. The wristband movement has spread to other college conferences, including the AAC, SEC, and Pac-12, as well as in the NFL.
Terrence Ramsey, an ACC umpire since 2001, spearheaded the movement. “By nature, and by training, officials are non-biased, non-partisan observers,” said Ramsey. “We are neutral arbiters of the intent and the spirit of the rules. We are guardians of the integrity of the game. We stand for what is right. We are also Americans and as Americans, we are sometimes called on to stand for what we feel is right. This is such a time.” African American officials in the ACCFOA had decided to make a statement this season by wearing the wristbands, and invited all other ACC officials to do the same. After the Board of Directors deemed that the demonstration should not be exclusive to a portion of the officiating roster, and implemented the wristband as part of the uniform for all officials.
Umpire Barry Anderson, down judge Julian Mapp, field judge Anthony Jeffries, and side judge Dale Shaw were all seen wearing the wristband during the historic Week 11 game between the Buccaneers and Rams; the game featured the first all-Black officiating crew in league history.
“Like officials who strive to be a non-issue in the game, our wristbands are subtle and non-invasive. And like an effective crew, they can have a profound impact on outcomes,” Ramsey stated. “We are grateful for the opportunity to officiate college football and grateful for the opportunity, as officials and as Americans, to take a stand for right.”
Photos courtesy of Terrence Ramsey.