Wednesday, August 1, 2007
For the Score readers.
Driving under the influence, assault and battery charges, drug possession, promiscuity, gun possession, child support payment delinquency, disorderly conduct, rape allegations, domestic disturbances, unruly entourages, cornrows, tattoos; All of the above, we can forgive. Most fans are able to look past their favorite NBA player’s off-court indiscretions and continue to support the Association because no ONE is bigger than the game. But, an NBA official allegedly fixing games is an absolute no, no! Personally, I was just as shocked when I heard a referee bet on games as I was when I heard Beyonce’ was going solo. Yeah, I really wasn’t all that surprised. It wasn’t a matter of if so much as it was a matter of when. If I were a gambling person I would have put my money on Steve Javie being the culprit before we learned it was Tim Donaghy, but that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, the referees have way too much power in the NBA and I’d be shocked if it turns out to be only one “rogue isolated criminal” as the commissioner so eloquently put it. David Stern has fined players, coaches and owners millions of dollars throughout the years for even hinting at a referee being intentionally incompetent. When an official has a particularly bad night and a player says something about it, David Stern never even acknowledges that the player might have valid reasons for complaining before he fines him thousands of dollars. Why in the hell can’t the players say a ref screwed them in several ways on a given night anyway? What happened to the first amendment? I mean, I know when you’re employed by someone there’s only so much you can say about the company and keep your job, but if you voice your displeasure every time you have a problem with a co-worker or someone of higher rank than you who isn’t your boss and your boss took a week’s pay from you, well wait that doesn’t happen in other jobs cuz its bullsh*t. Sometimes the officials suck and someone needs to tell them that. Stern has long acted as if NBA officials are beyond reproach, and now it’s finally coming back to haunt him. This scandal is one of the worst things that could happen to a league that has so many fans both casual and devout who think the league has a vested interest in the success of certain teams. While David Stern was spending his nights worried about what outfit Allen Iverson was going to wear to the arena and how he’d choose to accessorize it, he should have been paying more attention to the only people other than the players who can truly decide the outcome of a game. I’m not talking about the coaches by the way. I don’t see why he was so concerned about what the players were wearing anyway. Basketball has never been more popular worldwide and Stern is the reason for it. Obviously the baggy jeans and long chains weren’t ruffling as many feathers as he wanted us to believe. Anyway, the best thing that could come from this situation is that the officials will make a conscious effort to call a fairer game. There’s no reason that one team should shoot 20 or 30 more free throws than the other team. In today’s NBA where they don’t even allow you to graze a player’s hand, there’s no justifiable reason for some of the free throw discrepancies we see in games. It needs to stop. Another thing that could go a long way towards better officiating is if they forget about the name on the back of the jersey. That’s right; treat the “superstars” and “role players” equally. Quit giving these phantom, bail out, and reputation foul calls to the household names in the league. Just because everyone knows who they are doesn’t mean they should be untouchable. The other guys are playing just as hard if not harder and they deserve some damn respect too! Anyway, if it turns out to be just one ref, then the league will be able to recover. What happens if there are more refs named later?? This could ruin people’s careers and I’m not talking about the players. I’m talking about beat writers and magazine editors and columnists and everyone who makes a living off the NBA. If people start looking at the NBA like it’s the WWE then these people are screwed! This is bigger than the NBA and its players, and sponsors and the Commish. We all need this to be an isolated incident that just somehow slipped through the cracks.