Friday, April 23rd, 2010 at 9:00 am  |  42 responses

David Stern: No More Complaints About Refs

The Commish doesn’t want to hear anyone moan about the referees anymore. (Kobe, for one, took the warning to heart last night.) The OC Register has Stern’s menacing quotes: “Stern went on and on when asked about Jackson not being happy with the $35,000 fine for working the refs through the media. ‘I wish I had it to do all over again, starting 20 years ago by suspending Phil and Pat Riley for all the games they played in the media,’ Stern said. ‘As you guys (reporters) know, our referees go out there and knock themselves out and do the best job they can. Our coaches do whatever they can to work them publicly, and what that does is erode fan confidence and you get some of the situations that we had. So our coaches should be quiet, because this is a good business that makes them good livings and support a lot of families. And if they don’t like it, they should go get a job somewhere else. I don’t mean to be too subtle.’ More of Stern’s diatribe: ‘It’s corrosive. And because of the pressure cooker that is the NBA playoffs, over the years I’ve let it go. But when you hear a Chicago coach say, ‘Oh, this game was lost because NBC wants an extra game.’ And you hear a New York coach say, ‘Well, what are you gonna do, (Michael) Jordan gets all the calls.’”

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  • neaorin

    Instead of wielding his banhammer the Great Leader would help matters a lot more if he went out and got some better refs. You know, people who aren’t octogenarians.

  • NBA kid

    sterns reign as a fascist dictator continues…now it’s censorship

  • NBA kid

    sterns reign as a fascist dictator continues…now it’s censorship

  • Michael Scorn

    What happens when the coaches are completely right, in the case of Tim Donaghy? Of all the fines that happened when complaining about Donaghy, I really think the coaches should get the money back, BECAUsE THEY WERE RIGHT!!!!

  • http://thekobebeef.wordpress.com LDR4

    Emperor Stern’s grip on the league continues to tighten. Read Personal Foul.Donaghy explains in detail the overall corruption and biases in officiating.Dick Bavetta is one of the worst all time. It is only a matter of time before Emperor Stern hands out a $100K fine for complaining about a refs call (which would probably be a bad call).

  • T-Money

    I ain’t mad. It DOES erode fans’ confidence in the the game’s integrity and it’s just not fun. Mike Brown, Larry Brown, Jery Sloan, Pop… they rarely take shots at the refs and they still win a lot of ball games. Really, this is Stern saying to Phil and SVG “I don’t play that ish”.

  • AL29

    What happened in the 2002 Western Conference Finals eroded many fans’ confidence in the refs. But Stern refuses to even acknowledge that.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/nba/2010/04/the-post-up-home-stretch/ Mike

    The Nba doesnt want another Donaghy situation yet Stern fines people who complain about refs, how is that suppose to help?

  • vtrobot

    f*ck you, dave. i don’t think it’s the coach’s complaints about subpar and inconsistent refereeing that erodes fan’s confidence. i’m pretty sure it’s that poor refereeing that actually does the damage. the refereeing is often not very accurate, quite subjective, and possibly containing ulterior motives. that part of your product needs some fixin’. people are calling you and your refs out for good reason. stop fining as an attempt to silence. FIX IT (and not that kind of “fixing”)! and then f*ck off, old man.

  • Tommy Patron

    Stern is such a politician. Falsely connecting comments made through the media to erosion in the fans’ confidence in the NBA’s refereeing, then using that erroneous conclusion to justify censorship actions. In reality, all that does is intensify my distrust of the NBA’s interest in the integrity of its competitions.

  • Hucklebuck

    why just can’t the coaches and players themselves just suck it up and find another way to get the job done? they get paid millions of bucks to do that don’t they? they can’t be one dimensional in terms of ways of winning games.

    Forget worrying about referees, COACHES AND PLAYERS SUCK IT UP AND PLAY!

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Phil on one knee, head bowed: “as you command, master.”
    Darth Stern: “that’s right, you best not disrespect me, biatch!”

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Name a League with better refs than the NBA?
    I haven’t seen one. Seriously, being a ref in professional sports is hard, and the NBA refs do the best job in my opinion.

  • kudos

    A league with better refs? The Rec league downtown has better refs. The most hilarious thing i heard is an announcer (albert? or someone else) saying reffing a nba game is like watching a highway full of cars going 70 mph. That was hilarious. These players may be giants, but they’re not particularly fast. And you can obviously see what’s going on. (hence, the obvious traveling no-calls) (lebron picking up the basketball at the 3 point line, and walking it up for a layup)

  • RedRum

    kudos, have you actually been on an NBA game???? Players are not that fast??? It is different watching from the TV you know and different being there… I think Stern is correct. What he basically is saying is you can complain about bad refs, it happens that not all games are called best all the time. But when you go on talking about conspiracies, like refs respectin MJ as an owner and giving him calls, then you do hurt the league. Unless you have some substantial evidence, such kind of talking hurts the league, especially when it comes from high profile people like Jax and Riles (SVG does not count, he is a loony anyway…).

  • http://www.motherjones.com AndTheJellosJigglin

    NBA players are not particularly fast?!?! You are watching too much slow-mo on TV, yo. Have you ever officiated any game at any level?

  • LA Huey

    People underestimate how difficult an NBA game is to manage in real-time. This aint pick-up ball where people call their own so everything is relatively fair. If you’ve played officiated games, you’ll know everyone tries to get away with all sorts of grabbing and pushing. Stern has a point but, at the same time, he needs to step it up and get some better (read: younger) refs.

  • robb

    I don’t wanna be a Stern defender or anything but he’s right. Referees do a very difficult job. Watching from the sidelines or picking a referee’s error after watching a repetition of the play on TV 10 times is one thing, doing that on the spot it’s very very difficult. The Donaghy thing f***ed everything up.

  • Jesse Dunns Ghost

    Darth Stern: Execute order 66!!
    League office Clones: Yes Master! (goes off to collect fines and terminate coaches)

  • barnabusb

    Stern is wrong. As an employer, you can’t just tell your employees to suck it up, call the waaaahmbulance, or look for a new job. That’s BS. He needs to address the concerns of his employees and his FANS because after the Donaghy thing (hell, even before the Donaghy thing) people have complained that the refs just make a lot of bad calls (or no-calls). It’s especially brutal when they miss obvious stuff. Sure, everyone makes mistakes and we’re all just human, but he needs to have refs under the age of 50 and make the entire system more transparent, possibly with a grading system. Why aren’t they looking at bringing in NCAA refs, or European refs? Surely they’re capable of keeping up with the speed of the NBA.

  • http://twitter.com/smk73 SMK

    Stern is not messing around. 2006 Finals MVP Bennett Salvatore has been assigned to work Celtics/Heat Game 3. And if Doc Rivers says anything but “Thank you sir, may I have another?” he’s getting a $25K fine and Dick Bavetta for Game 4.

  • http://aol.com RUN’N'GUN219

    2006 mvp bennett salvatore.. lol

  • vtrobot

    i get the most upset when a foul/non-foul/etc. is very clear to me from my living room, but unclear to the man standing four feet from the occurrence. when the replay validates my assumption, i get more upset. use the replay more. have the refs wear a little earpiece and have some *sshole reviewing replay footage take, literally, 5 seconds to check it. Then radio the refs and say, “hey idiots, the ball went off the _______s (team).” fix this stern. i don’t want to see a playoff game end like that OKC non-call ending.

  • barnabusb

    @vtrobot: Now that’s a good idea. How come nobody has suggested that before?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I think i have a decent knowledge of the game.
    I have reffed exactly 1 game in my life.
    It was a rec league at my college.
    It was one of the most difficult and embarassing moments in my life.
    I effed up horribly. HORRIBLY. Things were happening really, really fast and that was with out of shape cats in a rec league.
    I have no doubt that being on the floor, trying to make judgement calls in the NBA is exponentially harder.
    I wish they could let fans actually ref a game so they could see how hard it was. Then they would be able to honestly assess what refs are doing. All the different things they have to juggle.

  • Michael Scorn

    In America, you can say whatever you want about the President of the United States, no problem. But once you hint that a sports ref performed under par, that’ll cost you $35,000.

  • vtrobot

    @barabusb: i don’t know. it seems like they have the technology to improve sh*t tremendously w/o negatively impacting the pace or the tradition of the game. c’mon.

  • http://djsfklrf.com Jukai

    On one hand, it’s ludicrously hard to referee an NBA game
    on the other hand, did anyone see the Portland v Suns game last night? The first half was riddled with ludicrously bad calls against the Blazers (LA literally just slightly posts up Collins and gets called for a foul) and the second half was riddled with ludicrously bad calls against the Suns (Richardson stripping Webster cleanly, and Webster flailing madly afterwards, making the refs award Webster a SHOOTING FOUL FROM THE THREE?!?!).
    I mean, I get it, it’s hard… but if people make mistakes, should we really ignore them?
    That being said, this “OH SUPERSTAR CALLS WAH WAH WAH” and “TV SCHEDULES ARE RUINING THE PLAYOFFS!!” ordeal has to stop. This is the NBA. Jerry West has the most freethrow attempts in a season, so superstar calls have been going on in the league forever, and there is no team that is ‘so young’ (outside of OKC) where waiting a couple of days doesn’t actually benefit them. So I’m with Dave on this one.

  • http://thephotoriot.com davidR

    allenp: nhl? the nfl? i’d say reffing an nfl game is way harder than reffing an nba game. but really the point is that the current nba refs are terrible. they treat the rules more subjectively than an mlb umpire calling strikes

  • http://thephotoriot.com davidR

    how about tyrus thomas’ huge flop the other day against the magic? he flung his head and arms up, got the foul, then immediately got up and started laughing.

  • kudos

    You forreal son??- you think it’s easier watching from the tv than a player who’s 10 feet away from you? With 2 co-workers at every angle? that’s a good joke.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/CathedralsRecords?feature=mhw4 Earl

    Let’s just make the NBA as soft as we possibly can…

  • LA Huey

    @davidR, With how slow a baseball game is already, I don’t know why umpires haven’t been replaced with “replay technicians” by now.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Allenp was that a joke? Please tell me that was a joke. The only referees worse than the NBA’s are in the WWE.
    Basketball is the sport that relies on referees the most, so a higher number of mistakes is inherent. This, of course, is understandable.
    HOWEVER, that does NOT excuse the NBA referees from favoring superstars to the point where every fan and announcer knows and uses the terms “Superstar Calls” or “Superstar Treatment.” It’s ridiculous how often they blow the whistle whenever Kobe Bryant or LeBron James are so much as sneezed at on a drive.
    The inconsistency is there, and I certainly am not one to rule out the possibility of league corruption and crooked referees. Now, these types of referees are a minority in the league–and I do believe most referees are clean, consummate professionals. But a lot of bad calls happen, calls that occur so frequently that it’s hard to defend the refs with a straight face sometimes.
    Granted, are NHL, NFL, or soccer referees any worse than NBA refs? Absolutely not. But I wouldn’t say they’re better, either.

  • http://deleted Coney Islander

    Stern reminds me of senator Palpatine. Just a thought…

  • dankNugs

    Wow! best way to fix the biggest problem for the league: ignore it! I sure hope politicians arn’t watching this. The Stern-Bot has created a complete dictatorship: no freedom of speech.

  • Michael Scorn

    But, just imagine how much faster an NBA game will get over with if everyone didn’t b!tch about every call.

  • barnabusb

    It’s always funny when you see a player freak out to the ref saying they were fouled, but when they show the replay the foul wasn’t even close. Why do players do that? Surely they must know that they weren’t actually hit during the shot attempt, and yet they cry anyways. Players need to man up and stop complaining on phantom fouls, too.

  • http://www.youtube.com/ The Promise

    Did anybody notice how OKC got 48 free throws last night to L.A.’s 28, and we all know that they are the favored team, and they have Kobe Bryant, so where are all these superstar calls? OKC outplayed them, fair and square. I’m not gonna say ref bias has never happened, because it has. I have said it on this site before, and I will say it again, that the 2005 Finals between the Spurs and Pistons was the worst officiated series I have ever watched. A total flop fest by Ginobili, and the refs called a foul pretty much every time a guy was touched. I may be wrong, but that was only series I felt in my mind that was fixed. Thats just me. But I think that crap is over, and I think these guys do the best they can, and like a lot of the other posts say, the play happens so fast, you have a half a second to react, either call a foul or let it go. I’d hate to have to do it. Every year a goofy coach ruins a good series by saying that the refs are giving a player superstar calls or that its fixed, all that. Phil Jackson especially. He plays mind games with the refs, and the opposing players constantly. I wouldn’t mind to see a suspension, maybe he would shut his mouth about it. Lets just watch the game and not worry about who’s getting more free throws and/or the calls. Drop the “fixed” crap, please. I’m so sick of it I could puke.

  • http://big11mel@yahoo.com Big Mel

    The refs are doing the best they can,they don’t fix games they just call horrible calls all the time, or just around the confrence finals and NBA finals thats when usually when the don has spoken.

  • Daniel Babson

    David Stern is a corrupt, greedy, evil man. I believe he has it out for the Celtics based upon an old beef with Red Auerbach. Yes, I know it is conspiracy theory, but it all matches patterns of behavior of the NBA (eg David Stern, dictator) toward the Celtics. Did anybody see the sham that was the Celtics-Bulls game where the refs gave the game to the Bulls? Yes, the Celtics assisted in the theft but it was a theft in any case. Last years NBA championship was given to the Lakers by the refs with an assist from the Celtics. There are patterns of ref behavior that is not an accident, and do you think for one second that David Stern is not in control of everything? No way. Stern is corrupt and he passes all that on to the NBA and refs.

  • http://okcvet.com Marylou Wyatt

    I have never in my life been so frustrated as I’m now, watching the unfair way the referees are calling the OKC/Spurs game why not be fair and let the best team win, they certainly shouldn’t be helping their favorite team win. I have never seen so many bad unfair calls/or no calls could we please have fair referees for the remander of the games, if their is such a thing?