Foul or not a foul?

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DBZ By DBZ
#1

So the other day on the field, this was the scenario.

O is chasing down the disc at full speed into the endzone and is basically reaching for the disc when D comes out of nowhere, incidentally knocking the disc away, but causes O to run into him and obstructing the path in front of him, creating contact between O and D's bodies.

Now, I understand that D simply outran O, but I just wanted to make sure whether or not this would be considered a foul. It seems to me that it's most likely not.

Always hard to pass judgment on a text account of a scenario. However, I would not characterize this particular description of events by itself as relating non-incidental contact (affecting continued play), nor as dangerous contact. In short, I see nothing that stands out as a reason for a foul call.

I agree with atanarjuat that it's hard to make the call based on text. However, I disagree that it likely wasn't a foul. However, the amount and nature of contact that I'm picturing may be different than what he (?) pictures, which may be different than reality.

The fact that the D player got to the disc first is irrelevant. If he was unable to make the play without significant contact, it is a foul and he shouldn't have attempted it. From the description it sounds as though the D player may have taken a position that was unavoidable by the O player, which is a blocking foul.

I'm not saying it was a foul, and it may well not have been, but I can definitely see a case for it, based on the description of events.

That would be awkward if it was a foul. Just picture the D person catching the disc ahead of the O player instead of knocking it away. Unless you want to call offensive foul on the D player (now on offense) who just caught it? Wouldn't do much though other than let the Oplayer (now on defense) to recover.

You may argue dangerous play though. (unless you are saying a dangerous play call = foul call, then sure call foul if you want)

In support of Gin-Boh's post, a player cannot legally take a position that is unavoidable by another player. It's very nice that the D got to the disc first, but if his positioning in doing so is going to result in unavoidable contact, there is justification for a foul call.

And all of this being said, we'd have to see the play in question to be able to talk definitively about it...

Just a reminder: the unavoidable contact in question still has to be "non-incidental contact" to justify a blocking foul call.

ok it's a foul. but the disc still goes to the D in this case (assuming the disc is knocked to the ground and not up into the air). the foul call would just give everyone time to recover from the foul.

ElDuke,

That's not true. If a foul is called, claiming that the D block was made as a result of an illegal position being made, or on the grounds of contact (again, the fact that it occurred after the block does not mean that it isn't a foul), then the foul affected the outcome of the play. In this case, the disc will go to the original receiver (if uncontested) or else back to the thrower (if it is contested.)

You may have said that it's a TO regardless based on the fact that the contact occurred after the contact with the disc. However, perhaps the D player's contact with the disc would not have happenned without the foul, in which case the contact is part of the play.

In general, it is possible for a bonafide foul to fail to affect the outcome of the play. There's not much to gain in debating the subtlest points of a play none of us witnessed, though, and I'm not trying to steer that way. My intent in the following words is just intended as a cautious reminder that unavoidable contact resulting from a defensive block is not necessarily grounds for a foul call.

For this particular example, I would say that it is potentially relevant that the defender "knocked away the disc" in advance of the contact. I say this because if the defender truly negated any chance the offense had at gaining the disc, then the subsequent contact is more likely to be incidental to continued play, even if the defender did initiate it. Even minor contact may constitute a blocking foul under other circumstances, but when continued play is unaffected (as it may have been in this case), then it should not be called as a foul.

For example, from XVI.H.3.b.1:
"Some amount of incidental contact before, during, or immediately after the attempt often is unavoidable and is not a foul."

If the contact was a little more severe, the offensive player may choose to take a middle road: he may be inclined to call a foul on the contact, whilst also acknowledging that the outcome of the overall play was unaffected.

And if the contact was especially severe (or if it falls into another category of "reckless disregard"), then the offensive player may choose to call a "dangerous play" foul. In that case, yes, it is quite irrelevant that the defender knocked away the disc in advance.

Again, I don't intend to pronounce definitively on whether a foul was committed or not. I just don't see anything that leaps out at me as being an obvious example, given the description.

I absolutely agree that not all contact is a foul, and of course that some incidental contact after the fact doesn't matter. The reasoning that's pushing me to these responses is the all-too-common defense after a foul call: "but I got the disc first." Some people believe that just because they got to the disc first, it doesn't matter that they collided with someone, and while I don't think you're advocating that, some of what you've written could be interpreted as such.

Further, I think we are both on the same page regarding the meaningless contact before, during or after, as well as on the dangerous play situation. Where our opinions appear to differ is the middle ground.

In my opinion, if the D player successfully makes a block but the method in which he does it results in considerable impact (though not necessarily dangerous) afterwards, then I don't think that the result should stand. The D player is responsible for avoiding contact in every way possible, and he has not done so in this (hypothetical) case. Admittedly, there is a lot of grey here, especially considering XVI.H.2: "Contact resulting from adjacent opposing players simultaneously vying for the same unoccupied position, is not in itself a foul." I simply disagree that if a foul call is warranted in a case such as this, that the outcome was already determined.

antanarjuat: "My intent in the following words is just intended as a cautious reminder that
unavoidable contact resulting from a defensive block is not necessarily grounds for a foul
call."

You didn't provide an example which backed that up. If an infraction results from a defensive
block, then it stands to reason that it was the actions involved in that defensive block that
caused the infraction (unless you mean something else). That would make it a foul.

antanarjuat: "For this particular example, I would say that it is potentially relevant that the
defender "knocked away the disc" in advance of the contact. I say this because if the
defender truly negated any chance the offense had at gaining the disc, then the subsequent
contact is more likely to be incidental to continued play, even if the defender did initiate it."

When the swatting occurred is not relevant, only whether it was related to the infraction or
not. If the swatting of the disc was part of the illegal action or otherwise couldn't have
happened without the illegal action, then the effect the swatting had on the disc or when it
occurred is irrelevant to the discussion. If the swatting of the disc was a completely separate
action, meaning the swatting occurred completely independently of the illegal action, then of
course the results of that swatting stands (it was unrelated to the infraction).

In essence, if the block is related to the infraction, then the fact that the block affected play,
means the infraction affected play, which in turns means it's a foul.

why not just call dangerous play on the O player then, they were obviously not aware of their surroundings when going for the disc. the D doesn't just come "out of nowhere".

also, there is no sport i can think of where the player who gets to the ball, puck, playing object first (without contact beforehand) is called for a foul for contact after.

Temple: "You didn't provide an example which backed that up. If an infraction results from a defensive block, then it stands to reason that it was the actions involved in that defensive block that caused the infraction (unless you mean something else). That would make it a foul."

I'm suggesting that we first need to decide if there really is an infraction before deciding if it was strongly related to the block, or affected the outcome of the play. And the timing of events can have an impact whether we decide contact is incidental or non-incidental.

For example, swatting your opponent's hand on the follow-through to an interception is not likely to be a receiving foul; swatting your opponent's hand as you reach for an interception likely is a receiving foul.

What "affects continued play" tends to be highly subjective and depends strongly on the circumstances -- it is often a combination of severity of contact and lost opportunity.

Temple: "When the swatting occurred is not relevant, only whether it was related to the infraction or not."

I think we agree on similar things. But timing is relevant to me to help decide if one is action is related to the other, and to help decide how incidental or non-incidental the contact was. If two actions occur more closely in time, they are more likely to be related, of course.

I don't mean to insinuate that "getting the disc first" is somehow a get-out-of-jail card. It is not. But I even-handedly want to acknowledge that "Some amount of incidental contact before, during, or immediately after the attempt often is unavoidable and is not a foul." On a case-by-case basis, we have to decide whether the contact following the attempt was incidental or non-incidental.

To muddle the situation even more, if the D lays out (i.e. 'jumps') are they not entitled to their landing spot?

-----
XVII. Positioning
B. A player who jumps is entitled to land at the take-off spot without hindrance by opponents. That player also is entitled to land at another spot, provided that the landing spot, and the direct path between the takeoff and landing spots, were not already occupied at the time of take-off.
-----

"also, there is no sport i can think of where the player who gets to the ball, puck, playing object
first (without contact beforehand) is called for a foul for contact after."

Auto racing has a similar rule. You can't force someone off the track to get to the corner first
when you are on the outside.

Sorry, auto racing is a sport?

antanarjuat: "I'm suggesting that we first need to decide if there really is an infraction before
deciding if it was strongly related to the block, or affected the outcome of the play. And the
timing of events can have an impact whether we decide contact is incidental or non-
incidental."

I think that's backwards. There is no time where you should not look at the whole action that
resulted in the illegal behaviour.

It seems to me that you're saying if the disc is swatted away, then the other player had no
chance to get the disc, so the collision immediately afterwards was incidental.

That's backwards. If the act of swatting the disc was tied to the collision (even if that collision
was quite minor) then that act of swatting was the illegal behaviour which affected play.

It sounds simple, but it bears stating outright: you can't run into somebody in order to make
a play. If you do, that play does not stand.

Auto racing is certainly a sport. If it rubs you the wrong way (as an example), you can substitute
velodrome bike racing, where the same rule applies (no cutting off your opponent).

"I think that's backwards. There is no time where you should not look at the whole action that resulted in the illegal behaviour.

It seems to me that you're saying if the disc is swatted away, then the other player had no chance to get the disc, so the collision immediately afterwards was incidental. "

I just don't see why it's a foregone conclusion that the behaviour was illegal. Sometimes, a collision is non-incidental and sometimes it's incidental. And I think the timing of events has some bearing on that.

DBZ By DBZ

Hmm, maybe just to clarify a bit to the best of my knowledge:

I was running diagonally straight into the endzone. My hand is reaching out for the disc, and then the D comes from the left of my blindspot. Evidently, the D definitely can see where I am as they are behind me. It wasn't that he ran diagonally in front of me, but more so that he cut me off my path, creating contact between the front of my body and the rear of his body, resulting in my inability to catch the disc.

"I just don't see why it's a foregone conclusion that the behaviour was illegal. Sometimes, a
collision is non-incidental and sometimes it's incidental. And I think the timing of events has
some bearing on that."

Nothing's a forgone conclusion, and what we're talking about isn't necessarily related to the
scenario in the OP. The discussion we're having is on how to interpret an action which occurs.

So we're on the same page, "incidental" means "did not affect play". The timing of events
can have an effect on whether a play was affected. However, you have to be clear that if the
block results in contact, then the block and the contact are effectively one single event.

If you cannot block the disc without causing contact, then that block is part of your contact.
It's one event. The timing of the actions within that one event does not matter.

If you block a disc and then completely unrelated to that block, another event results in
contact, then those would be two separate events. You only look at whether a given event
affected play, in this case it would be just the contact. If the disc was not catchable due to an
event that happened before that contact, then likely the outcome of that play was not
affected. However, as above, if your blocking action results in contact, that's one event which
did affect play.

Again, I'm only stressing that the contact should be non-incidental to justify a foul call (by definition, with specific rule exceptions). Take from that what you will -- the definition of incidental contact is readily available.

"Again, I'm only stressing that the contact should be non-incidental to justify a foul call (by
definition, with specific rule exceptions)."

Fair enough, but that contact does not have to affect the pass for it to be non-incidental. If the
contact in any way affects continued play, it is a foul and the block, though it happened before
the contact, is part of that foul.

Essentially, swatting the disc away just before contact cannot change illegal contact into legal
contact.

ok so those sports don't have an object that teams are vying for. if you want to say that everyone is vying for "the finish line" then if someone gets to the finish line first but just after they cross the finish (first) they cause an accident they are somehow penalized? (other than possibly getting injured.... which i already said that you could call dangerous play if you want)

ElDuke, the number one object that every receiver is vying for is to miss everybody. That is the
first priority, it is secondary to getting the disc. That's not some hippy-dippy-spirit philosophy,
that's the rules of our game.

If you think for a second that whether or when you get the disc can validate contact, you're very
much mistaken.

"If you think for a second that whether or when you get the disc can validate contact, you're very much mistaken."

I really don't like the way that's phrased. Can we please be more careful to distinguish non-incidental contact from incidental contact?

well like i said before why not just back off and call dangerous play. obviously the O player going for the disc was focusing solely on the disc and not aware of his/her surroundings otherwise he/she would have realized that he/she wasn't going to get to the spot where he/she could have made a play on the disc first.

i never said that it validates contact. quite the opposite. people should first be aware of their surroundings before they make a play on the disc. in this case the O player obviously didn't. not seeing a red light is no excuse for going through one.