NBA Refs Cry Foul!

5 08 2007

Bucher: NBA refs cry foul

Long before the Tim Donaghy scandal, NBA refs saw their relationship with the league office eroding. Ric Bucher traces the spiral.

This article appears in the August 13 edition of ESPN The Magazine.

Chances are you’ve heard that an NBA referee recently resigned, sending a wave of uncertainty rippling through the league and leaving everyone to wonder what the commissioner will do to resuscitate faith in his officials.

Chances are, you’re thinking of the wrong ref.

While allegations that Tim Donaghy conspired to fix the NBA games he was officiating rocked the league’s foundation, it was the resignation of Bernie Fryer immediately after he worked Game 3 of the NBA Finals that was the summer’s first bombshell.

Fryer, a 28-year ref regarded as one of the league’s best, is hanging up his whistle because he can no longer stomach the league’s current system of managing its officials. And his disaffection is shared by as many as nine other topflight veterans — about one-sixth of the corps — who also have talked about stepping down in protest. “It’s so bad,” says one, “guys buy lottery tickets everywhere they go. If they win, they’re just going to leave their shirt hanging in the locker.”

In short, the system is neither respected by veteran officials nor, it now appears, capable of weeding out miscreants such as Donaghy.

If referees were losing their taste for the job before, when amateur Oliver Stones found grist for their conspiracy mills despite having not a whiff of hard evidence, imagine how much less palatable it will be if proof surfaces that of one of their own was blowing his whistle to affect outcomes. Many of them now expect arenas to be filled with taunters waving dollar bills and shouting Tony Soprano references after each controversial call.

Most refs actually agree that Donaghy was, as David Stern called him, “a rogue, isolated criminal.” But unlike the commissioner — who only recently submitted his referees to the kind of background checks NFL officials have gone through for years — they aren’t just hopeful that Donaghy acted alone. They say it’s too difficult to change the outcome as part of a three-man crew. In fact, some have gone back and reviewed tapes of games they officiated with Donaghy and were unable to find any evidence that he attempted to manipulate a game. They’re also convinced that Donaghy didn’t do this as a way to get back at the league.

Envisioning winning the lottery and abruptly leaving a game a whistle short right before tip-off, however, reflects how some refs would be willing to act out at the league’s expense. The refs’ dreams of doing something else seems odd, since from the outside, it looks as if they’ve already hit the jackpot. They’re at the top of their profession, enjoying a solid six-figure income with all the perks that come with working on an international stage. What can compare with presiding over a roundball version of Cirque du Soleil, instilled with the power, with only a quick exhale, to bring the entire escapade to a screeching halt?

For good measure, throw in the satisfaction that comes from knowing that you can confidently nail in a split second what the rest of the world often needs seven different camera angles and slow-motion replay to see. Sure, you have to be able to slough off the wisecracks from the cheap seats and the intimidating glares from men twice your size, but all in all, why would anyone quit this one-of-a-kind opportunity even one second earlier than necessary?

Officials say that over the previous two seasons, their decisions have been second-guessed by the league more than ever before and, all too often, erroneously. They are convinced that public or team perception of a call will ultimately dictate whether the league finds it correct.

Problem is, the job is not what it seems. Officials say that over the previous two seasons, their decisions have been second-guessed by the league more than ever before and, all too often, erroneously. They are convinced that public or team perception of a call will ultimately dictate whether the league finds it correct. Several refs say they’ve been given a thumbs-up on a performance only to be harangued, even reprimanded, by the same people several days later after they’ve had a chance to view the slo-mo replay. “With every whistle, guys think, Will the tape justify the call?” says one former ref. “Guys aren’t being backed up. It’s all about PR now.”

For the league, the most humiliating aspect of the Donaghy revelation is that its executive VP of operations, Stu Jackson, and director of officials, Ronnie Nunn (both of whom, along with Stern, refused repeated attempts seeking comment), have over the past few seasons taken extreme measures to discount the notion among coaches, players and fans that stars are treated differently or that maverick refs brandish their own brand of justice. An observer at every game files a play-by-play review after watching the action live and again on tape, and refs are then given a detailed critique of every call. Playoff crews actually aren’t allowed to leave their locker room until a league office supervisor gives them the all clear.

Jackson and Nunn, sources say, have complained to Stern that if their measures haven’t improved the league’s officiating, it’s only because the league’s old dogs won’t learn new tricks. According to the refs themselves, maybe it’s because they don’t trust the teachers. While Nunn was considered a competent official during his 19 years, he certainly wasn’t respected enough by his former colleagues to be viewed now as an authority or the ideal for how the job should be done.

His weekly show on NBA TV, in which the rank and file see him pointing out missed calls and then correcting them for the viewing public, hasn’t exactly improved his standing. Jackson’s undistinguished record at every other position he’s held — Knicks coach, Grizzlies coach and GM — has him forever fighting to win the respect of his charges, some of whom dealt with him in his previous capacities.

Jackson and Nunn have said that they are trying to develop a corps of interchangeable whistle-blowers, each one calling every minute of every game the exact same way. Three seconds in the lane is a violation, be it in the first minute of the second quarter or the last 30 seconds of overtime. Same with a hand check or a moving screen. The league strives for conformity by creating statistical averages and tracking its officials’ adherence to them. Refs say they now receive calls from Jackson informing them that they haven’t whistled a particular infraction for several games and need to pick up the slack. And that makes them feel like little more than traffic cops filling ticket quotas.

There’s no underestimating how much this whistle-by-checklist philosophy sticks in the craw of every accomplished referee, particularly in the context in which the calls are made. How, they ask, can every call be the same when no two teams, no two games, are the same? And then there is this: Officials say that if they actually adhered to the letter of the law, they’d be calling multiple infractions each trip down the court. Still, the league routinely points out inconsequential infractions and hammers its employees for not calling them.

One unintended repercussion is the long-running success of Flopapalooza. Acting as if you’ve been mauled to get to the line has long been part of the game, but now players do it everywhere, anytime, because they realize that today’s refs are more apt to blow the whistle. Blame a better-safe-than-sorry mind-set among officials who don’t want to get blasted for not calling what could look, upon league replay, to be a legit foul. “NCI,” says one ref. “It’s short for ‘no call incorrect.’ That’s what they hit you with the hardest. You’re better off getting it wrong by blowing your whistle than by not blowing it.”

Strict adherence to the rules — albeit not by game officials — resulted in the Suns being punished more harshly than the Spurs for the altercation instigated by San Antonio’s Robert Horry at the end of Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals. The league, Jackson has admitted, chose “correctness” over “fairness.” And that’s what it always does. But that kind of thinking goes against a philosophy that has been hardwired through generations into every veteran ref: Let the players decide the game. “They’ve taken the common sense out of the officials’ hands,” says a former ref.

The pursuit of uniformity, several refs contend, is creating mediocrity, even as isolated focus on every call is creating paralysis by analysis, especially among the younger officials.

The pursuit of uniformity, several refs contend, is creating mediocrity, even as isolated focus on every call is creating paralysis by analysis, especially among the younger officials. And they see an irony in being asked to walk a straight line while they are being issued wildly careening directives from the league office. The 2005-06 season began with refs being told to exercise diplomacy and patience, to allow coaches and players to air their grievances as long as they weren’t too demonstrative.

Then they were told to do a 180 a year later, when a zero-tolerance policy was handed down. (Jackson objected to the idea that it was a zero-tolerance policy.) These days, no one is quite sure where the line is or, post-Donaghy, where it will fall. Will players and coaches be permitted to vent, or will the refs be filled to the brim with Donaghy smack and not take a drop more?

For the officials, it would appear that correcting one of the ills of last season would be a good start. Remember Tim Duncan’s sarcastic laughing fit following a foul call during a game back on April 15? Joey Crawford ejected the All-Star and followed it up with words that got the ref bounced for the remainder of the season. But multiple sources say that when Crawford asked, “Do you want to fight?” it wasn’t a challenge, it was a question, as in, “Why do you keep staring at me? Are you trying to pick a fight with me?”

While several refs concurred that Crawford would have been better served ignoring Duncan, his harsh punishment was taken as further evidence that they now toil in a no-win situation. On one hand, Stern doesn’t want games marred by altercations or other distractions. On the other, he doesn’t believe that in the heat of battle, being “fair” is the best way to ensure that. Crawford had long been known for his short fuse, but he’s had a short fuse with everybody, star or scrub. Challenge his authority, and you’re going to pay the price.

And his colleagues point to the fact that altercations don’t happen in games he works as proof that his approach quells disturbances rather than fomenting them. “What they did to Joey was wrong,” said one player. “It’s not that I like him, but you know what you’re going to get with him. He’s consistent. He’s fair.” Don’t shed tears for Crawford. He’s asked to return to his job next season, and Stern has indicated that he’ll let him.

But even with Crawford and 57-year-old Blane Reichelt, whose planned return after a two-year retirement has been thrown off course by the scandal, the NBA still faces a crisis-provoking exodus of its most experienced refs. The NBDL hasn’t turned out to be the hoped-for proving ground for whistle-blowing wannabes, and the NBA has even had to resort to holding an open tryout for its new crop of officials.

In fact, the league has found it so difficult to find suitable replacements that it has six men over 60 still humping it up and down the hardwood, including the respected Joe Forte, Jim Clark, Jack Nies and Jess Kersey. And then there are the fiftysomethings, the next wave of first-rate officials that includes Crawford, Bob Delaney and Bennett Salvatore. “Working a couple of extra years to improve your pension isn’t worth it,” says one official. Fryer, who is walking away in good health and standing, is clear evidence of that.

The man has to be counting his blessings that he won’t be around to witness the Donaghy Effect or be subjected to the suspicions that have crept into the minds of the faithful. But there is one respect in which Donaghy’s indiscretions could serve as a benefit to the fraternity. Maybe a chastened Stern will now listen to — and trust — what his best referees have to say about how the job needs to be done.

It’s pretty clear that if he doesn’t, traveling will be the hot new call in the NBA.

Ric Bucher covers the NBA for ESPN The Magazine.



It’s happened before… it’ll happen again.

24 07 2007

In 1951 an NBA referee, Sol Levy, was charged with conspiring to fix six games, during the 1949-1950 season. $500 would buy an early foul-out of an opposing player.  Sol Levy would ultimately die from multiple gunshot wounds.

“The unfortunate reality was that gambling had always played a significant role in the historical development of professional basketball in the United States.”


(Excerpt: “Wizard of Odds: How Jack Molinas Almost Destroyed the Game of Basketball” by Charles Rosen)



#21 Tim Donaghy – Controversial Calls?

20 07 2007

11/12/06 

Mav’s 103 Blazers 96 – Devean Geoarge hits 2 late FT to cover spread.

 04/10/07

Nets 96 Wizards 92 Vince Carter makes 2 late FT to push spread.

02/26/07

Tim Donaghy was one of the three officials at the Miami/New York game this past February. The Knicks shot 39 free throws to the Heat’s 8. The Knicks were favored (-4) in the game. They beat the spread by 2.

01/03/04

“Detroit regained the lead and the ball with just 30 seconds left and Chauncey Billups drove the lane and collided with Brain Cardinal. Crew Chief Dick Bavetta called the play a charge but was overruled by referee Tim Donaghy who called the play a block and awarded Billups two free throws. Upon looking a replay of the events, it was a very close call, but appeared to be a charge which would have given the Warriors ball and a chance.”

01/19/07

The Spurs had to go most of Friday with Carlesimo guiding them. Popovich picked up his first technical foul for yelling at referee Joe DeRosa after the official called a foul on Tim Duncan for bumping Hornets center Tyson Chandler. Popovich took his seat, but continued to bark at referee Tim Donaghy, who was standing near the bench.

Donaghy calmly stared at the opposite end of the court as Popovich voiced his complaint about the “(expletive) call.” But when Popovich shouted, “Yeah, I’m talking to you,” that seemed to be all Donaghy needed to hear. He turned and ejected the coach.

01/19/2000

“That may have been the worst call of my career,” said a dumbfounded Karl afterward. “An important game like this and then to take me off the bench. For what I said? That’s a sad commentary on officiating. “That was the cheapest throw-out of my career.” Karl got the heave-ho from referee Tim Donaghy with 4:54 left in the first half during a three-point play by Bucks forward Glenn Robinson. Karl received the first technical for telling Donaghy that Indiana’s Jalen Rose was riding Robinson on a drive, a call that referee Mike Mathis ended up making. Karl then strolled out to midcourt to ask Donaghy why he had received the technical. “What the hell did I say?” Karl inquired of Donaghy. Donaghy’s only response was to whistle-up Karl again, providing him with his walking papers. “That technical was the worst job of officiating that I can remember,” said Karl. “Maybe it was something personal from before, but I don’t remember anything.”

04/09/05

Tim Donaghy, the referee who tossed coach Doc Rivers against the New Jersey Nets at Continental Airlines Arena April 9, officiated last night. Rivers picked up two technicals in just 1 minute 41 seconds in that game. It was the quickest ejection of a coach during the regular season.While Rivers admitted he deserved the second T, he thought the first was unwarranted and believed Donaghy had something against him. The next day, Rivers called the league and lodged a complaint. Last night, however, Rivers said he was fine with Donaghy being assigned Boston’s first playoff game. (Boston won)

12/12/06

Coach Hill stormed the floor to throw his body in front of the Suns early in the final quarter. Actually, an enraged Hill was on the court protesting another foul on Howard, the 6 foot-11 center who virtually vanished in the fury and flurry of the Suns’ pinball offense.
Howard, no match for counterpart Stoudemire, already had been whistled for a technical foul.
It was Hill’s turn, and he had to be held back by several Magic players from going after referee Tim Donaghy.

05/20/02

Shaq got taken out of the ballgame,” Jackson said. “The NBA has been watching these games for how many years? We played them in the playoffs forfour out of the five years? Every time at the beginning of the game, Vlade does all the same stuff, and the referees fall for the same Vlade flop stuffyear in and year out. And if they don’t know enough – and I went over to thereferee [Tim Donaghy] and said, ‘If you don’t know enough to [let them] playthrough that stuff, you’re just eliminating Shaq from the game.’ You don’twant to take him out of the game. You don’t want to make this game differentfrom what it should be. And players shouldn’t be rewarded for this kind ofan act. You’re rewarding this guy for this act. That’s totally unfortunate.”O’Neal would only say that Sunday’s game was “predetermined,” presumably bythe referees.

11/28/00

Both Portland coach Mike Dunleavy and guard Bonzi Wells were ejected in the fourth quarter. Wells whipped his headbandacross the court at referee Tim Donaghy and knocked over a watercooler before leaving the court. “If there was contact between Bonzi and the official I think itwas accidental and done out of frustration,” said Dunleavy, whowas watching on television from the locker room at the time. “I think from the look on his face, he was really that he got a technical.”

05/12/07

The Suns’ coaches and players had a running dialogue with referees Greg Willard, Eddie Rush and Tim Donaghy in Game 3. And Nash said part of mental toughness includes getting over questionable calls quickly. “Sometimes you have to voice your opinion, and sometimes it’s good to be passionate and emotional,” he said. “But it can be to a detriment if you get too emotional. You have to learn to use it to your advantage.” D’Antoni said: “You can plead, cry, whine do all those as long as it doesn’t affect your focus on the court. You can’t whine, and then be soft or out of position. You have to play basketball.”


02/13/06 It was with 1:28 remaining in the fourth quarter that the game swung back San Antonio’s way.Referee Tim Donaghy called Johnson for defensive three seconds with the Pacers leading 86-81. The Pacers bench went ballistic as Manu Ginobili made the free throw. “The illegal-defense call was really a tough call, and I just watched it three times and I think the guy that called it is going to regret calling it,” Carlisle said. “In that situation it’s a tough thing to call. You can make a case he was out of there.”01/15/03

Wallace confronted Donaghy, who had given him a T, on the Rose Garden’s loading docks. Eyewitnesses say Wallace cocked his fist and, when the ref recoiled, said, “You better flinch, you motherf—— punk…. I am going to kick your f—— ass.” (Wallace denies that he threatened Donaghy with his fist, and the players’ union plans to appeal his suspension, which, if it stands, will cost him $1.26 million in salary.)

05/29/06

Referee Tim Donaghy called a foul on Johan Petro on the opening tip – 1 second into the game – for bumping Yao on the jump.

January 2005

“In January 2005 his next-door neighbors in suburban Philadelphia sued him for harassment and invasion of privacy for a pattern of discord that had reportedly gone on for several years. Peter and Lisa Mansueto claimed that Donaghy vandalized their property and stalked them, even to the point of following Mrs. Mansueto around Radley Run Country Club, where Donaghy and the Mansuetos were members. After an internal investigation, Donaghy was suspended from Radley Run for the summer and early fall of 2004. The suit also alleged that Donaghy set fire to the Mansuetos’ tractor and crashed their golf cart into a ravine.”



NBA Referee Joey Crawford Reinstated

12 07 2007

By Bill Ingram
for HOOPSWORLD.com
Jul 11, 2007, 23:38

A flurry of publicity surrounded the suspension of NBA referee following a showdown with San Antonio Spurs star Tim Duncan. It was with much less fanfare that Crawford was reinstated.

Basketball News has learned that NBA Commissioner David Stern, satisfied that Crawford has learned his lesson, has reinstated one of the NBA’s most respected referees.

Crawford was suspended for the season after he had words with Duncan and then ejected him during an emotionally-charged game in Dallas against the Mavericks. Duncan was fined $25,000 for his part in the incident.

“Especially in light of similar prior acts by this official, a significant suspension is warranted,” Stern said at the time. “Although Joey is consistently rated as one of our top referees, he must be held accountable for his actions on the floor, and we will have further discussions with him following the season to be sure he understands his responsibilities.”

Now an agreement has been reached, and Crawford will once again patrol the NBA hardwoods.

Link!



Witness… The problems with the NBA!

6 06 2007

Oh let me count the ways:

Media

The media has taken control of the NBA and because they can only increase profits through hype they continue to drive the NBA right into the ground. Year after year they choose a player to hype only to be let down. Hardcore fans are always going to watch but the casual fan is what the NBA needs to make the Playoffs and the Finals profitable. The media would rather promote exactly what the highly prized casual TV fans are tired of seeing. Thugs, big mouths and criminals! Just look at what it’s done for the NFL, need I say anymore. Why not choose a player and a team that has already proven itself! Because the media decided years ago that the unassuming Tim Duncan is boring they can’t promote the Spurs. Shame on the media! The Spurs are exactly what the casual fans would love to embrace. Talent, athletic ability and hard work; sure they play defense but you have speed and agility, shooting, tough play in the lane and the wild and crazy moves of Manu “Crazy legs” Ginobili. Nothing to see here! The bad news is that you are not going to read or see these guys in the national media or see these guy mug shots in the crime pages.

I don’t know about anyone else but I’m already tired of the LeBron James media hype. Why is this kid anointed as the savior of the NBA? I understand that “King” James has an overwhelming wealth of talent and has put in the hard work necessary to assume the throne. But what has he done to deserve that title? He has become the leader of the Cavs and has done everything it takes to make to the NBA Finals! He has put the Cavs on his back when he had to and helped to make other members of the team better. He has willed his way to the top and deserves credit for all that hard work and effort. But until he wins something I’m not quite ready to crown him!

NBA Staff

The NBA has embraced exactly what the media told them they had to have and it’s rewarded them with fans losing interest in the game. Sure TNT has drama but the NBA has chosen to manufacture drama instead of letting what we all know is a fantastic game create its own drama. I call it selling out! Change the rules to punish teams that play defense and reward teams that play only offense. The only problem with that is that San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is smarter than NBA Commissioner David Stern. Pop has built a team that not only has adapted to the rules but has stood the test of time. I’m sure he would give most of the credit to having the NBA’s best power forward ever and I believe one of the ten best of all time!

NBA Refs Suck

Maybe NBA Staff and Referees should be categorized together because they orchestrate the game together but with growing fan discontent with the referees they deserve a category all their own! I’m no conspiracy theorist and don’t believe refs intentionally decide the winners. But I do believe they know what is expected from them. Close games are a requirement because sponsors need to know that commercials purchased at the end of games will have value. I game that is over in the first half has no viewers at the end of the game. So referees will always give a team that is getting destroyed an opportunity to get back in the game. I’ve had many conversations with referees from all forms of basketball. They all try to convince me that it’s hard to control the game but all you have to do is watch a game to know that a well placed call or momentum halting call gives the opposing team an opportunity to get back in the game. I’m not buying what they are selling and neither are the fans.

Zip
6/6/07



Spurs show champion’s poise in Game 4 win

29 05 2007

Charley Rosen / FOXSports.com
Posted: 9 hours ago

The Spurs are in command of the Western Conference Finals after besting the Jazz 91-79 in a wild, slam-bang contest.

That’s a far cry from Utah’s blowout win in Game 3, and Monday’s loss shows why the Jazz are still a far cry from elite.
First of all, it should be noted that Steve Javie, Ken Mauer, and Joe DeRosa had worse games than any of the players. For no discernible reasons, some flops were ignored, some were penalized, and some were rewarded. And because of the routine mayhem permitted to transpire in the middle, most of the players will no doubt be suffering from scratches, bumps and bruises from their elbows to their fingertips. Things got so chaotic that whenever a whistle sounded the players had no idea what the forthcoming call would be.

Here’s an incident that showed exactly how confused the refs really were: The Spurs had the ball when a pass to the wing was clearly deflected out of bounds by Andrei Kirilenko — but Mauer indicated that Bruce Bowen had touched the ball last and awarded possession to Utah. After a quick conference, however, the three refs determined that Bowen had not touched the ball and that it belonged to San Antonio.

OK. Well done.

But one of the refs was wearing a wire, and during their deliberation Mauer said, “Kirilenko deflected the ball, and I don’t know if it went off Bowen or not.”

Really? Then why did he make the bogus call in the first place?

The only positive outcome of the refs’ collective incompetence is that it didn’t particularly favor either team.

Read Whole Article



Crowd Chants Refs Suck!

28 05 2007

For anyone who watched game 4 of the Jazz vs. Spurs Western Conference Championship game there’s no doubt how the fans feel about the referees, they chanted “Refs Suck” and “Javie Sucks”! I know it’s bias and coming from the fans of the Jazz! But it’s a growing trend around the NBA! A large percentage of the fans are starting to buy into the conspiracy theory, is the NBA the WWE? The league can never truly become the WWE because the players still have to score and there’s no way to fake a made three pointer and the opposing teams is never going to buy into letting the other team win! However it does seem that the NBA is manipulating games. I have to believe that the NBA doesn’t really want to hear the fans chanting that the refs suck on national TV for even the casual fans to hear.

With sites like NBARefsSuck.com rising in popularity the NBA has to have one eye on the unrest of the fans and hopefully a serious attempt to improve not just the game from a marketing stand point but improve the refereeing so that the integrity of the game can return. I believe the change in the rules to favor offensive basketball has truly damaged the game. Then there’s the media who is more than happy to promote offense over defense. This year the media decided that the always considered soft Spurs have been upgraded to the dirtiest team in the league because of one comment by Amare Stoudemire and the media’s rush to create a story just to sell something. Whether it’s true or not is up to the true fans to decide!

Zip



Referees at It Again!

25 05 2007

By Chris Sheridan
ESPN Insider

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — I’m not going to kill Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown harder than anybody else in this column — I’ll save that honor for the referees — for biting his tongue after the Eastern Conference finals Game 2 loss, 79-76, to the Detroit Pistons on Thursday, although I think he did his team a disservice by trying to take the high road by refraining from criticizing the officials in the interview room afterward.

“We’re a no-excuse team,” Brown said, a line that was echoed minutes later by LeBron James.

But make no mistake, the Cavs were absolutely livid at the lack of a call when James drove to the basket with eight seconds left and was hacked numerous times by Richard Hamilton, including a rake across his arm as he went for the shot everyone had been waiting three days to see if he would take.

I asked Hamilton in the locker room afterward if he had fouled James on the play, and Hamilton couldn’t stifle a cackle before he gave his answer: “Nah, you know. I just put my hands up.”

And let the record show that he cackled at the end of that answer, too.

Read the rest of the story!



Rules in the NBA (By Mark Cuban)

20 05 2007

May 16th 2007 6:32PM
First, let me go on the record as saying that in the event that a vote comes up to change the rules about suspensions for players leaving the bench, I will vote against changing it.

Why ? Because its incredibly simple to educate players about the rule. Its a rule they fully understand and they understand the consequences of violating the rule. That makes the NBA stronger because it removes uncertainty. Can it result in a game(s) being impacted , yes. However, that impact results from an action a player knew violated the rules and was a mistake. There is no uncertainty about it. All they had to do was not leave the bench.

I actually think that more rules need to be iron clad like the “don’t leave the bench rule”. Whenever we can remove discretion in enforcement from the NBA the game is better for it.

Fans will hate the Suns not having Amare and Boris, but they all know the rule and recognize that the players knew it and fully understood it. What really gets fans, and me upset is when they can’t understand how and why a rule is enforced.

When Jason Terry was suspended for throwing a punch last year, our only argument was whether or not he actually threw a punch. If he did, all involved, including Jason knew and understood what the punishment would be and why.

When Udonis Haslem got suspended a game for throwing a mouthpiece while lying on the ground, I didn’t quite get that one. Fined for being mad at an official, that I understand all too well. The suspension I didn’t.

When guys throw an elbow to the head or a knee to the groin or have a habit of stepping under a player as he lands, its far too difficult for officials and the league to gauge intent. Its pretty much impossibIe. I think we need to take a no leeway position and make both a flagrant 2 foul. Make it a no questions asked rule. Watch how quickly teams re educate players on how to close out on shooters and how quickly player behavior changes. Not by all, but those who can’t probably are repeat offenders and deserve the penalty. A guy missing the rest of a game is a whole lot better than injuring a player and impacting his career.

It won’t completely eliminate the need for the NBA to pass judgment on player intent and dish out punishment, but it will reduce the number of times they have to do it.

To make the job of enforcing all of this a little easier, I would like to propose something publicly that I have proposed privately but was shot down.

Allow officials, at their discretion, to use instant replay to review unsportsmanlike conduct or any action that could lead to a flagrant 2 foul.

This would be an important change not only to help get the play right, but also because it lets the punitive action for a bad act take place in the game it impacts. It would also make fans feel that the officials took the appropriate action based on the best information available. It can be incredibly frustrating to everyone at the game when a replay contradicts the best efforts of an official on a matter as serious as a Flagrant Foul.

Its not a cure, but it increases the chances of penalties being relative to the game in which the problem occurred. Plus, although it wouldn’t eliminate the need for the league to take action on players, it would probably reduce the number of times they would be asked to take action over a players on court behavior.

Link to Article.



More Fan Disgust!

16 05 2007

You guys got it 100% right. I could care less if refs missed stuff. Odds are, you’ll miss stuff randomly and it will even out. But manipulation of games and vendettas against players is just sickening. At least in pro-wrestling, the wrestlers know it’s scripted. In the NBA, those guys play their butts off and no matter what they do, it’s the refs who ultimately decide. Pathetic. Every year, I get closer and closer to never buying NBA League Pass again, but the regular season is reffed somewhat better than the playoffs. In the playoffs, the refs get so obvious in their manipulation that it literally makes me sick.

-Chris