Brian Gavin, a referee revered by many supporters and disdained by many others, a situation which leaves him in a better position than most of his peers, told the launch of the Referee's Handbook that too many supporters don't know the rules.
Balls has noted before that there are supporters out there now who scream "where's your black card, ref?" after every conceivable infringement. Bizarrely, this cry is often heard even in cases where the infraction clearly warrants a red card.
Gavin, who has refereed four All-Ireland hurling finals in the past six years, made much the same observation at the launch yesterday.
It is amazing being at football matches. I was at the All-Ireland final replay this year and I heard people around me shouting for black cards. You'd wonder what planet they're on.
There is a terrible lack of understanding of the rules, even from players, would you believe, and managers at times.
Speaking to RTE yesterday, Gavin acknowledged there was a problem with hurling a few years back. A laissez faire approach to refereeing led to plenty of wild swings going unpunished.
(Though Gavin didn't allude to any game in particular, Balls remembers the 2012 Kilkenny-Tipperary semi-final in which Paudie Maher wasn't pulled for a wild swing which badly injured Michael Rice. And do we need to mention the Galway hurling final of that same year.)
Gavin credited the intervention of Pat McEnaney, whose interference in hurling was much resented by the game's pundits, and his successor Sean Walsh in helping to clean it up.
We had a problem in hurling maybe three years ago when there were a lot of wild pulls going unpunished. Pat McEnaney (then referees' chief) and then Sean (Walsh, McEnaney's successor) came in and we tidied it up.
We saw very few red-cards this year in the hurling. Players have tidied up because they were starting to get punished for the loose hurling.
Gavin then advanced the view that there was a higher degree of respect between combatants in hurling than in football. He said this was down to the speed of the game and the resulting reduced scope for mouthing.
I think players in hurling respect each other so much, maybe compared to football a little bit.
I could be wrong in saying that but the respect that hurlers have for each other is just unreal. They just get on with the job in hand.
Football is a lot of hand-passing, it's a lot of in-your-face type of stuff whereas hurling you nearly haven't time. The ball is moving so fast.
In football you could be corner-forward v corner-back, the ball mightn't arrive to you for eight or nine minutes, there can be verbals going on. Whereas hurling it's end to end stuff, there's not as much contact.