THE SANTA CLARA
February 12, 2014
The NBA has defended its referees for as long as it has thrived as a league. Criticism from coaches and players about bad calls has always taken place and will continue as long as there is human error.
This past weekend Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul was fined $25,000 for “criticism of officiating,” as stated by an NBA statement during a post-game interview with the media, following the Clippers’ 105-94 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers last Thursday.
“The (foul) that I got there was ridiculous. I don’t care what (anybody) says, I don’t care what (the ref) says, that’s terrible, there’s no way that could be a technical,” Paul said when asked about the technical fouls. “We try to get the ball out fast every time down the court and when we did that, she said ‘Uh-uh.’ I said ‘Why uh-uh?’ and she gave me a tech. That’s ridiculous, and if that’s the case, then (reffing in the NBA) might not be for her.”
While the NBA’s fine is along the line of disciplinary actions it has carried out in the past, it still doesn’t justify the reasoning.
The NBA, like all other professional sports leagues, mandates that all players speak to the media following every game. As we have seen with Marshawn Lynch over the past few years, failure to do so can result in severe consequences, as it is a part of the players’ deal with the league. Hence, a superstar player is going to be asked a barrage of unavoidable and potentially controversial questions about the game that has taken place.
Like the decisions on unexpected plays made by referees, the responses that are made in post-game conferences are just as in the moment.
News organizations make money off reactions — the bigger and more exaggerated response, the better. Therefore, post-game interviews are a perfect place for a player to be asked a question he “isn’t supposed to answer.” Keep in mind, players are full of adrenaline and could be heated enough to answer some of the antagonizing questions presented to them.
Referees don’t talk to the media after a game and thus aren’t vulnerable to the same situation players must face. It’s this sort of double standard that the NBA has placed on its players that shows the hypocrisy of the discipline it has given out.
Chris Paul was asked a question about the technical foul given to him. He responded in a calm manner that expressed his point of view in a non-threatening way while backing his reason with a statement about what actually happened in the situation.
The NBA is a league that constantly shines the spotlight on the superstar. If the person is not allowed to have a say, however, players should thus be stripped of their individuality and act as referees.
Nick Redfield is a freshman undeclared arts and sciences major.