What Will Silver Do?

By Ronald Williams
Jan. 19, 2018

This year we have seen tons of missed calls or wrong calls from NBA referees; which is unfair to the players. A billion-dollar goldmine and this has been the league’s biggest inconsistency in the midst of its widespread of global impact in popularity. Don’t get me wrong, I love the entertainment in which the players go about addressing this matter, however this needs to be rectified, someway. Adam Silver, is the man for the job to get this done. What I don’t want, is this turning into the refs having to meet and discuss every time that a call was made. Can you imagine having to wait extra time for them to agree if a call should have been made? That is not the fix we need. Extra eyes for them could help, if that means adding more man power on the video controls, one more ref during games. I think it would serve best if 2 refs were responsible for watching a set of things and the other 2 refs were responsible for watching a different set of things. For instance, a ref that makes the foul call, a ref that calls traveling, a call that watches the paint. I think we make their jobs hard on them, by having 6 eyes watching: 10 bodies, 20 feet and 20 hands, while getting periodic breaks. Better yet, if one ref had an ear piece and could communicate with the team watching videos in real time, that could also help them mitigate communication issues on the floor. A total of 5 referees would be ideal. We put a lot on them, asking them to run up and down the court, keep their eyes open, and make calls. All while watching the best athletes, which happens to be in top tier shape. For them to not have to move would be great.

The Solution: Creating an easy court to officiate

Picture this visual! Having 5 refs, 4 on the outskirts or the court, and 1 going up and down watching the game. The thing is to have all refs on a schedule where they rotate who is the one doing the physical running. This can rotate during breaks, timeouts, half-time, but it can be managed. This will serve as a better source of having referees that can keep up with the flow of the game while still doing the job at making the correct calls as and when needed.

Now that I have hopefully provided a solution to the errors the refs have been exhibiting. I posed the question: Should the refs be fined? Why not? I can hear Russell and Draymond agreeing with me right now! I been watching the games lately and listening to the players, media and the refs as they address the inconsistencies within referring a NBA game. These are the top world class athletes, competing day in and night out. They have every right to challenge a call or ask why a call is called consistently, especially when they are the ones at the end of the day getting the short end of the fines. I would love to make the amount of cash they are gaining to be able to get docked 5k, 10k, 15k, 20k and so on and so on for challenging the refs when they present it to the media. However, let’s think about the athlete. There are 3 refs on the court and not one of them is a mediator between the athlete and the team of refs. The 2-minute rule has been a total nightmare thus far. To have a team of refs, viewing the game in game speed, having the luxury to few the footage courtside, to still come away with the wrong call is somewhat, unacceptable! Leading to the furiousness of the players! For that, they should get docked as well. That way, they make the correct calls when they are needed, instead of issuing a statement of apology 2 days later. Let’s be serious. A NBA Championship can be affected by a wrong or misjudged call by the team of refs. The correct call should always be made, even when the highest of accomplishments are on the line.

The Inconsistencies: Missed/Bad Fouls and The Infamous Travel

What players seek most is consistency. As a fan, I don’t want to see those “ticky-tack” fouls being called. I would rather you all allowing moderately intensified defense, not to the point where they want to go at one another like a bo match. Men will be physical. So it is kind of hard to remove that aspect from the game. My favorite foul is when the defender doesn’t even touch the offensive player while attempting a jump shot and still gets whistled on the player (mastered by James Harden). Watch those legs as the sweep into the air as well! Yet, they can’t tell the ref, that’s a bad call without getting a technical or receiving a heavy fine. As a fan, I have been getting somewhat upset of the inconsistencies of the referees. However, to see a player getting technical fouls for defending their case of what he feels was a bad call is not on the players. Especially when you allow the refs to go back and review the footage of the games, to only see that they made not only one mistake however a few costly mistakes that could determine a different outcome on the game. For instance, take the article written by, Melissa Rohlin for example, “Referees missed three fouls by Kevin Durant against LeBron James in final two minutes.” We had to top 2 players in the NBA battling and in all fairness, it should have been called the correct way. LBJ had the right to be in awe. That was only the last 2-minutes of the game, remember that. I am sure there were some missed calls throughout the game. This is and cannot be acceptable and the players should be able to voice when it is not acceptable without facing penalty especially when you all expect them to walk decorously and respectively. Place that same amount of accountability on the entire NBA body, not just players. It is impossible to keep a grown man from exhibiting his passion when he knows he should be able to defend his case.

Then there is the infamous travel. We really need to get a hold on this one. Like seriously, how many steps are they allowed to take to layup or dunk the ball. Last time I checked it was, 2 steps; not 3, not 4, not 5 and most definitely not 6. How are we going to help the kids develop fundamentals when we not even holding the pros up to the highest standards when it comes to the rules of the game? So, when we have students playing Footsketball, don’t say anything when they come to a tryout near you! Some of these basketball players be out here looking like running backs and wide receivers when they have the ball in their hands, driving to the basket. Watch this YouTube video of numerous NBA stars basically doing the Running Man without bouncing the ball on their way to the cup.

The Referee: They really do have a tough job

We love seeing the highlights and the dunks. Trust me we do. What we don’t like are the double standards set for the ref’s vs the players. Something must be done! Especially when the players can’t address the bad calls without getting penalized or docked outstanding amount of dollars for having to do so. We know you all can be more consistent with the calls not called, it will just take a team effort.

The thing with this is the players have become so comfortable with taking those extra steps that it’ll be hard to start calling this call correctly. This is the call that I can see players arguing the most. However, with the refs allowing these mishaps to carry-on for seasons in and seasons out, I can see players giving them backlash for this. So, Mr. Silver, what will we do to ensure the referees are held to the same standards and ethics as the players? We cannot keep allowing their mistakes to be seen as a “mistake.” This is a repetitive pattern, not a mistake. Why can’t they be docked for missing a call or making a bad call? After all, players can’t challenge them or really approach them during the game, when it matters mostly. I don’t want a game to end with a team shooting free-throws. However, I don’t want anybody getting beat up for a foul to get called. For a ref to go back to review the footage to say, “we missed a call, and it should have been called. We apologize and we will be better going forward," to be here today we can see that we still have ways to go before our referees are on one accord with athletes. Meanwhile, a team that was a game behind to make the playoffs didn’t or couldn’t make it because of a missed or bad call that didn't "have an affect on the game," however caused them a chance to compete for a ring. I really think there needs to be a meeting with the players and the refs so they can get this situated, once and for all. Adding an additional referee should serve as the needed balance the players and refs need now. After all, they are watching world class athletes. Sometimes they may get caught in the moment as well and forget to make a call. Kobe’s 81-point game, I don’t think I would be able to make all the calls either. They are human, so when there is a magical night on that court I am sure they get distracted watching in glamour and amazement at what is transpiring. So to defend them, you all shouldn't be so good on the court!

The Idea: Let them all sit at the table

To spread the love. I say there needs to be a meeting between the refs, players, coaches, owners, and Mr. Silver to address the level of aggressiveness for the regular season and the playoffs. Because physicality should be tolerated a little higher in the playoffs as opposed to the regular season. No Punching Please!!! That is another topic for another day!!!