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The Whistleblower

Rooting for the Ref in the High-Stakes World of College Basketball
By Bob Katz



During a season on the road with college basketball referees, Bob Katz watched the games they officiated, listened in on their candid conversations in locker rooms and hotel lobbies, and explored the intense challenges they regularly confront. Alone among thousands in the stadium and millions watching at home, the ref does not care who wins or loses. His only goal is fairness and neutrality. His passion to ensure the playing field stays level is shaped by character, training, and a rare—and rarely appreciated—kind of honor. In this vivid portrait of one consummate professional at the top of his game, Katz pulls off an unbelievable feat in The Whistleblower—readers actually come to root for the ref.

In a new afterword Katz reflects on the misunderstood and often denigrated role of the referee in sports and the looming implications for our increasingly partisan society.

Subjects: Sports

Contributor Bios
Bob Katz is the author of five books and has written on sports and culture for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and other publications.