The Blatant Problem With NBA Referees

The Blatant Problem With NBA Referees

Ean Lahiri

            When it comes to addressing the problem with referees in the NBA, most people suggest the NBA should just fine them for wrongful calls. That may seem like an easy fix, but creating rules of what’s legal to fine the refs for would not only be rather marginal, it would put the refs in a box where they wouldn’t feel comfortable making the right calls. That being said, the refs have been horrific as of late whether it’s atrocious calls or more specifically unwarranted technical fouls. In the last 3 weeks there have been a record setting 7 ejections and a shocking 24 total technical fouls. In some cases the players deserved it, however in other cases so much as a point at another player led to an ejection. Along with ejections, the challenge system has brought up other issues where essentially the referees can’t call the right play upon further review just because they were reviewing the play for another reason. This was best shown in a Lakers Kings game recently where at the end of the fourth quarter De’Aaron Fox was picking up the ball off a free throw miss as the refs blew a whistle. After said call the refs came to the conclusion that it was an inadvertent whistle that could not be applied to any broken rules. They then called for a jump ball to decide possession that ultimately awarded the Lakers possession despite Fox being centimeters from the ball with no one near him.

                Addressing the technical fouls is a much more confusing issue. Just about all NBA Commissioner Adam SIlver can do right now is to make a statement of awareness on the matter of technical fouls, but creating mid-season repercussions simply is not plausible. There would be more possible to do in the off-season, however refs have too much respect and responsibility in the NBA for the top management to see recent incidents as acts warranting more than a light slap on the wrist if even that. Personally, I think adjusting the rulebook qualifications for technicals is the best route to go; a rule where the refs are required to give a warning to verbal altercations would give players a chance to rightfully express their emotions while allowing refs to justify ejections if further altercations occur. So to summarize, a statement  from Commissioner Silver currently and a slight referee rule change should help the issue.

                  Moving on to the issue of only addressing calls upon review, challenges have brought more to light, but it has been a problem since reviewing existed. It doesn’t sit right with me that refs could legitimately see the right play call and not be allowed to call it. With all the trust already put into referees, I believe we should make it where refs and members of the replay center are allowed to make whatever the right call is based on what is reviewed. As much as a rulebook has been properly sustained, the game has evolved and we have too much technology to not take advantage of it. Another suggestion I have is to give bonus incentives when referees match the last 2 minutes NBA report; for those unaware, the last two minutes of each game is rewatched to detect any missed or wrongful calls in order to have refs know the rules better. An incentive would increase their motivation to truly make the best call. Nobody’s perfect and missed calls will always happen, but we should look to prevent what can be avoided for a better NBA.