High School Refs Flagged for Blowing Pink Whistles

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and its official color--pink--is everywhere. National Football League players have been donning pink gloves and cleats, and Sports Illustrated recently published its logo in that fleshiest of colors. But when some Kenmore-area high school referees dared to follow suit by using pink whistles during a football game on Thursday (in concert with cheerleaders, band members and seemingly everyone else in the stands), their governing body, the Washington Officials Association threw the flag.

"They chose not to ask for permission," complained WOA Chair Todd Stordahl to a King 5 news reporter, before adding that the officials may be suspended.

The game that drew the attention was at Inglemoor High School in Kenmoore, where the Inglemoor Vikings took on the Garfield Bulldogs in a much-anticipated homecoming match-up.

It's important to note that the game was a fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, one of the country's leading breast cancer awareness groups. And the refs had vowed to donate their game checks to the foundation.

It's not the first time that high school refs have used rosy whistles. In January, a group of New Jersey refs hosted their annual "Officials vs. Cancer" week. In that case, however, the refs had the blessing of their respective board.

Stordahl says his main beef with the refs using the Tamarisk tooters is that by not asking permission, they sent a message to kids that they don't need to ask permission either.

But in the world of high school students, where it often takes a high-powered cattle prod to get them to show the slightest initiative, a lesson that in order to stand up for a good cause, one must first ask if it's OK, seems a bit counter-intuitive.

The Viking's head coach Frank Naish, who lost his sister to breast cancer earlier in the year, and Naish's wife Terri, articulated the point.

"I think it's perfect. It's great," says Naish's wife Teri. "I think it's a shame (if they're penalized). The message we're sending is simple. We're looking for a cure for breast cancer."

Here's King 5's report.

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