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David Stern is just fine with the officials, what are you talking about?

Jun 9, 2010, 3:39 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for stern ASW.jpgIf there is one thing the NBA loves, it’s when the officials become the story.

Fans are talking about it. Players have been fitted with the shock-collars of heavy fines, which were applied liberally in the first rounds so now guys hold their tongues. The coaches try to be subtle. Doc Rivers was ironically complaining about another team holding.

But David Stern doesn’t see what all the fuss is about. That’s what he said to Dennis and Callahan on WEEI in Boston.

I was sitting at the game on Sunday, being very thankful that I wasn’t an official because the pace and the speed and the intensity and the passion with which our guys play is very, very difficult to officiate. And once you make a decision that a foul has occurred in front of you and you are not going to call it, then you are endangering our players. That’s all. And it’s a hard job that these guys have. These games are particularly intense. The teams have enough time to figure out what they’re going to do to the other. And they test the officials. They test them. They push and push and push. And if the officials don’t step up, then you’re going to have chaos and a game decided on (something) other than its merits. I recognized the risk that you are going to have a lot fouls called as well. But we’ve got very large bodies in small places, and it’s our job, our duty to protect these players.”

I think that as long as there are human beings officiating games, you’re going to have a certain amount of missed every game that can only be made by going back and using instant replay. And balancing the desire to get it perfect with the need to have a game that is played in less than four hours is what keeps me up at night.

Well, that should just about take care of everything, right? Sure.

  1. Pete - Jun 9, 2010 at 5:32 PM

    Not too long ago, there were only two – yes Virginia, two referees officiating in NBA games. And the games were just as fast and exciting as todays. Of course there were a lot of missed calls then but the officials control the game and the players accept missed calls as part of the game. Today, the NBA requires three referees to officiate in a game but the quality of the calls IMO has not improved at all. The result, more players are quick to publicly display their disgust over blown callls. To make matters worst, the NBA now resorts to instant replays during the last two minutes of the game to correct missed calls – a blatant message to the referees that their decision-making skills are really questionable. I’m sure the NBA gods have all the good intentions with the instant replays…they – just like any bad NBA basketball teams – are executing these not well thought-out decisions rather poorly.

  2. Parnell - Jun 9, 2010 at 6:15 PM

    The refs are terrible period, it’s not the fact that they miss calls, they make wrong calls on plays that sometimes a call shouldn’t be called and in the flow of the game, it can make or break a team. These are the playoffs, let the guys play and call the obvious calls. These are by far, the worst officiating I have witnessed in all of basketball. David Stern to me is a IDIOT, he probably has never played the game of basketball, that’s why he doesn’t know what to look for in the game.

  3. aft53 - Jun 9, 2010 at 6:58 PM

    If David Stern is just fine with the officials then the owners should fire him.
    It is the result that counts, not the process. The result is that the fans want to watch the stars play, not sit on the bench, especially in the finals.
    The process is (as the commissioner says) it is very difficult to officiate these games and it endangers the players if they don’t call the fouls (as in ALL the fouls). Baloney. Recognize, once and for all, that the officials are not good enough tocall a game tight and be consistent. Therefore, call the game more loosely, let the stars stay on the court, and you will find more consistency.
    Finally. what an embarassment last night when they had to replay the foul that Rondo committed on Odom so they could give the Celtics the ball because Odom touched it last after he was fouled. It is more important to hide behind a technicality than to get the call right. This kind of thing makes a fan feel there is no integrity in the NBA.

  4. Mo - Jun 9, 2010 at 8:16 PM

    No Pete, the calls were worse back then. However, the sands of time have helped you forget all of those calls. Not to mention, back in the day, there was no HD, far less instant replay and worse camera angles. Not to mention, there was no 24/7 obsessive sports media. The officiating has been somewhat uneven, but it’s been balanced. People seem upset about there being too many fouls, rather than complaining about specific calls. It seems like the number of bad calls is relatively constant. The teams have been playing physical basketball, so fouls get called.

  5. georgio - Jun 10, 2010 at 4:15 AM

    If the NBAe didn’t permit players to argue calls at all, not even one facial expression, not one complaint no nothing, i think the fans wouldnt be so angry either. Fans are reacting to the players reactions after fouls are called. Every player acts like there’s no way he did anything wrong and its gotten so bad that players are stomping off the court when a foul goes against them. When a player acts like this, it just makes fans think, “here we go again, another wrong call”

  6. CHildpleaze - Jun 24, 2010 at 10:24 AM

    watch the games and tell me who had more impact players or refs 21 fouls in a matter of minutes in game 7 is either incompetent refs or a fix. with the nba needing money courtside seats going for 5000+ a piece its clearly about money. The NBA needs to be investigated all the games need to be watched by outside officials and then tell me these refs weren’t fixing the games or they need to just fire all of them and start over get more refs that actually played the game so they know whats a foul and whats competing. Dont think because we are fans we cants see the rediculous calls or lack there off in game we pay all of this money to see a game and competition not a bunch of whistleblowing and stoppage its like watching a boxing fight when they hold each other all 12 rounds

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