Ever since the first ball was tossed up at center court, players and referees have been antagonists. While the NBA has, by far, the best officials in the basketball, its players complain more than any other. The reactions by the pros are on the upswing. We’re currently at the point in professional basketball that when a player takes the ball to the basket and a foul is called, the player who got committed the transgression looks at the referee in disbelief, arms straight up in the air, signaling he was in completely legal position – while the opposing team’s trainer is on the floor putting the guy who’s about to shoot free throws through concussion protocol. If the situation is reversed and an offensive foul is the call, the player who fouled stares at the referee as if he insulted the player’s mother, even if roots came out of the floor where the defender’s feet were planted.
What about when the player scores and there’s no whistle, you ask? It’s a sure bet the offensive player will be complaining to the ref, hitting his hand, wrist, elbow or head, that it should have been an “and 1″ situation. The job of officiating is a thankless one – and it doesn’t pay nearly as much as you think – considering the amount of abuse they have to take from players, coaches, fans and, even, the announcers. And I’m not just talking about the homers but the network guys who don’t have a stake in the outcome.
Players have always had the ability to bitch about the officials but only one time a year and no names were allowed. How can the NBA correct such a grievous circumstance? Well, with the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), as of next season, there’s a clause in it that says, “… players for the first time will have a hotline to call in to critique the work of refs in their games. They’ll be able to report not just on where they think the official botched a call, but also if they found a ref to be out of line, verbally, with how they handled blow-ups. Basically, they can complain like never before. The hotline is a response to the league allowing the new monthly reviews so that players can report something they thought was handled incorrectly while it’s still fresh in their minds.”
Other than one instance (granted, that we know of), officials make every attempt to be impartial, i.e. they look at their job as enforcers of the rules. Of course they’re human (c’mon, give them the benefit of the doubt) and they’re prone to make mistakes but, they work their butts off. Contrary to what some fans say, there are no hidden agendas. At least, other Tim Donaghy’s gambling issues, none have been proven. Since there are always two sides to every story, maybe the league should allow officials to have their own hotline to call in – while it’s still fresh in their minds – and give their two cents (about the ratio to what they make to what they players pull down) regarding players who might have been out of line, along with those back stories.
The way technology is exponentially improving, soon players will have phones sewed into their uniforms or implanted in their bodies. When that time comes, players will be calling the NBA office before the official is done informing the scorer’s table of the infraction. And imagine what the cost of advertising among the phone companies would be then. Just think, the players could rewrite the CBA and get even more money.
“Is this a great country or what?”