NBA suspends a referee

I’m particularly interested in what TeacherRefPoet thinks about this, as he is well, a ref (in addition to being a teacher and a poet) – funny how that works.

The NBA has suspended Joey Crawford “indefinitely.” I suspect that means he’s out for the postseason. He’s been a ref for 30 years, and an NBA ref for as long as I can remember. The NBA has always come down on the side of the refs, especially lately, and has started issuing stiff punishments for players who criticize refs before, during, or after games.

On Sunday, the Spurs played the Mavericks. Tim Duncan got a technical for complaining about a call. OK, no big deal. Fair enough. But moments, later, he’s sitting on the bench, laughing with Robert Horry. Crawford slaps him with a technical, ejecting him from the game. Players on both sides said they overheard him saying to Duncan “You want to fight?”

Now, Duncan is the epitome of keeping his cool during and after games. It’s a joke – people say it seems like he has no emotions. But even he couldn’t keep from speaking out after this one. Looks like he was right. Incidentally, this poor decision-making on Crawford’s part affected the Spurs chances of winning the game (they actually still hada chance to win, despite playing without Duncan for the entire 4th quarter, but obviously, their chances were much, much smaller) and made the decision for them about whether they would wind up the #2 seed or the #3 seed in the playoffs, with the loss. So it had an impact. I’m just glad it didn’t happen in a playoff game.

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~ by realsupergirl on April 17, 2007.

6 Responses to “NBA suspends a referee”

  1. There is a Santa Claus!

  2. I trust the NBA’s judgement. No league publicly rips its refs unless it’s something serious. Crawford’s one of the last refs from a bygone era where refs were more confrontational.

    Crawford reports that Duncan called him a piece of shit. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t, or maybe he did it after the ejection. Still, the NBA felt it had a reason to fine him $25K, so he likely did something. Obviously, if he did this from the bench, the second T was warranted…but I agree that laughing at a ref from the bench, while unsportsmanlike, is probably best ignored.

    Keep in mind that the NBA’s quality control of refs mostly happens in ways you don’t see. They are evaluated and graded for every call and every no-call in every game. To put it another way, 100% of their work-time is torn apart by supervisors. I can’t come up with a single other job where that’s true.

  3. Oh…that was me. TRP.

  4. Duncan doesn’t deny that he swore at the ref, but maintains this happened after he had already received the 2nd T and been ejected.

    What doesn’t make sense, if Crawford truly believes he was in the right (as he is insisting) — and what I think led TD to speculate that Crawford had some issue with him — is why he received that 2nd T and not Horry, who was laughing with him.

    Stern noted that he has spoken to Crawford in the past about his temper, and that this factored into the suspension. Duncan had noted prior to the ruling that the last T he received was also from Indiana, just a couple weeks ago, and wondered if this was related. Then, however, he was not ejected. It’s only the 2nd ejection in his career, and the first one was overturned by the league after the fact.

  5. Crawford has a track record as a hothead, and Duncan has one as a relatively good guy (if a little whiny, some sources say). The background should not be important here, though…the only question is what happened there. The NBA obviously sees a serious problem, and since I buy a league’s word when they back an official, I also buy their word when they reprimand one. It looks like Crawford may be done. (Jake O’Donnell went out similarly a few years ago.)

    I hope people remember the 31 years of service and not the last screwup. I know, I know…not possible. Nobody remembers anything good about refs. Part of the avocation. Oh well.

    –TRP

  6. Much like a good journalist, a good ref is one with whom neither side is completely happy.

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