Former ref Mike Carey has been CBS’s in-game officiating expert for two seasons now, and it’s probably not a good sign for anyone involved that Mike Carey getting things wrong has become a running joke. But CBS thinks the internet needs to recognize that Carey gets most of his calls correct, and everyone should stop being so cruel about it.

CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus spoke to reporters on a conference call yesterday, and had this to say.

“I’ve seen some of the criticism, and I think some of it is very hurtful, quite frankly,” McManus said.

“But Mike is learning his craft and, I think more often than not, he has gotten it right.”

That’s probably true. Mike’s out here making calls every Sunday, and the vast majority of them are correct, even if they’re the ones that are obvious upon slow-motion replay. And many of the ones he gets wrong could charitably be viewed as a difference of opinion with the officials on the field; just because something was decided one way doesn’t mean that’s objectively the right call.

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But Carey’s gotten enough calls spectacularly wrong that it’s become noticeably A Thing. In McManus’s opinion, Carey’s biggest failing is in making definitive statements.

“Mike has perhaps gone out on a limb more than he should in trying to guess or speculate what a call will be, but all he is giving is his opinion of what he would call if he were on the field. And if it’s a different result, I think people get frustrated. But I think people would understand that Mike is only giving his opinion.”

So, fair. Mike Carey is for entertainment purposes only. But how useful is someone’s opinion when it so often seems no more informed than my own dumb ass’s?

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Worse than anything else, Carey isn’t good on TV. He’s awkward, he lacks clarity in explaining the finer points of the rules, and he always looks startled, like he was just woken up from a nap. I get that he’s new at this, and his primary job is to know the rulebook, but Mike Pereira is fantastic for Fox. Jim Daopoulos, though he doesn’t do in-game stuff, is very good for ESPN. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Anyway, I hope Carey improves. CBS doesn’t make it sound like he’s going anywhere.

[USA Today]