Skip to content

Chris Bosh says if NBA wants to ban slurs on court it has to ban them all

Feb 27, 2014, 12:46 PM EDT

Detroit at Miami Getty Images

I’m not sure how you can really regulate “smack talk” on basketball court or a football field or any other sporting venue. It’s not that lines of basic human decency are not crossed verbally all the time — they are — and when that happens there should be something for referees to fall back on as a tool/penalty. However, once you ask the referees to step in on this issue it creates a new web of enforcement problems — where is the line drawn and how can referees in a loud stadium always be sure what they thought they heard was actually said?

The NFL is discussing imposing a new 15-yard penalty for racial slurs uttered on the field. It may not be approved in that form — PFT’s Michael David Smith suggested to me the NFL might just expand the existing taunting rules and have officials watch for flagrant cases — but it has certainly created conversation around the issue.

Should the NBA follow down the NFL’s path?

Miami’s Chris Bosh said you can’t just ban “the N-word” or one kind of slur, you need to ban them all. He spoke with the Palm Beach Post about it.

“I’m OK with penalties, but then it gets tricky,” he said. “What if I say this? There’s a bunch of things I could say and not get a penalty. If you’re gonna bring one thing in, you gotta put them all in the hat. That’ll work out a lot better.”

Would it really work out better? Should lawyers in suits in the Manhattan league offices be deciding what can and can’t be said on a court?

Shane Battier likes the general idea of assessing a penalty for slurs, but understands it is in the application of the law things get tricky.

“The arena of professional sports is highly, highly, highly emotional,” he said. There are a lot of things I’m ashamed I said, but I probably can’t say them in this interview. At the same time, we are a league that is in the public view and we sell ourselves as a family entertainment business. There are a lot of kids, and whether we like it or not, we are role models for millions of kids out there. To at least address the issue is responsible by the league….

“All of the sudden you’re asking our referees to be grammar judges when reffing an NBA basketball game is hard enough,” he said. “Ask any of them.”

Well, if referees handed out foul shots for incorrect grammar on the court NBA games would be six hours long. They could then come in the media work room and call fouls on a few of us, too.

In an image-conscious league you can bet this is something that will be discussed at the NBA offices. Compared to a huge NFL field, the NBA court is small and some fans sit courtside — pretty much everything said out there can be heard. Or picked up by courtside microphones. Maybe it’s something the league should ask its referees to look at.

But you can be sure the referees don’t want to wade into that water. They have enough on their plate.

Latest Posts
  1. PBT Extra: Expect a healthy Stephen Curry for Game 5… sorry Houston

    May 27, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    Curry and this Warriors team are not going to crumble like the Clippers did.

  2. J.R. Smith takes selfie at podium after Cavaliers advance to Finals

    May 27, 2015, 2:02 AM EDT

    JR Smith Selfie

    J.R. Smith on the national stage of the Finals is going to be so much fun.

  3. Report: Hawks’ Paul Millsap may require offseason shoulder surgery

    May 26, 2015, 10:30 PM EDT

    Atlanta Hawks v Washington Wizards-Game Three Getty Images

    Injury issues continue to pile up as Atlanta is on the verge of elimination.

  4. Storms in Houston forced Dwight Howard to remain at arena with fans until 2:30AM after Game 4 win over Warriors

    May 26, 2015, 9:30 PM EDT

    Dwight Howard AP

    Severe flooding in the area had fans — and at least one player — stranded.

  5. Stephen Curry went through concussion protocol twice before returning to court

    May 26, 2015, 6:59 PM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpti2yjjimja4ywnhyza4zdnjzti5mja0nzy1mjqzm2e2 AP

    Curry reported no symptoms after the game or on Tuesday, which means expect the regular Curry back for Game 5 Wednesday night.

  6. Report: Kyle Korver to have surgery on his ankle

    May 26, 2015, 6:17 PM EDT

    Atlanta Hawks v Washington Wizards - Game Six Getty Images

    There is no timeline but this could impact training camp and the start of next season.

  7. Jason Terry says he will play next season, his 17th in NBA

    May 26, 2015, 5:45 PM EDT

    Jason Terry AP

    If he’s used in the aging shooter role on the court and veteran locker room presence off it, bringing him back for another season for a few million makes sense.

  8. PBT Extra: Will Dwight Howard’s foul on Bogut be upgraded to a Flagrant 2? Should it?

    May 26, 2015, 3:59 PM EDT

    Golden State Warriors v Houston Rockets - Game Four Getty Images

    Would the league really upgrade a foul and bench a star player in an elimination game?

  9. PBT Extra: Horford/Dellavedova incident ups tension in Hawks/Cavaliers Game 4

    May 26, 2015, 3:37 PM EDT

    Not that it will be enough to get the Hawks a win.

  10. Report: Nets to shop Joe Johnson, Jarrett Jack in effort to get under luxury tax line

    May 26, 2015, 2:50 PM EDT

    Golden State Warriors v Brooklyn Nets Getty Images

    The Nets just do not have good rebuilding options going forward.

  11. Zach LaVine alley-oop dunking a football. Because he can. (VIDEO)

    May 26, 2015, 2:05 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Clippers v Minnesota Timberwolves Getty Images

    Minnesota’s Zach LaVine has spent the early part of his offseason working on increasing his vertical… wait, what?

Featured video

Will Klay Thompson get a little help on James Harden?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. S. Curry (6733)
  2. K. Irving (6686)
  3. K. Love (5834)
  4. L. James (4852)
  5. D. Howard (4679)
  1. D. Carroll (4292)
  2. K. Korver (4030)
  3. K. Bryant (3722)
  4. K. Durant (3515)
  5. A. Varejao (3508)