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LRB
01-29-2003, 02:27 PM
Arrogance, stubbornness shouldn't be refs' traits
By Rich Evans
Deseret News sports writer


By the time you read this, Jerry Sloan may be suspended.
And rightfully so. The Jazz coach pushed a referee, and you can never, ever, ever do that.
Even if he deserves it.
Referees have to be off-limits, have to feel like the league is going to defend them from physical assault.
As it did recently when Blazers' goof Rasheed Wallace went after referee Tim Donaghy after a game at the Rose Garden. Even though Wallace just faked a punch, his language and overall demeanor more than justified a seven-game suspension.
However . . .
You knew that was coming, right?
Look, everyone understands that officiating is a tough — sometimes impossible, it seems—job.
But they're making it tougher than it has to be.
They invite abuse by mistaking cockiness for confidence, by thinking they can cover-up mistakes with a veneer of arrogance.
In fact, that seems to be one of the league's chief criteria for hiring referees — a willingness to go toe-to-toe, or attitude-to-attitude, with players.
And that doesn't help control things. On the contrary, it just inflames situations.
You don't keep pumped-up players or coaches in check by getting in their faces, as referee Courtney Kirkland appeared to do to Sloan before the Jazz coach snapped and shoved him.
Sloan has been an NBA head coach for 14-plus seasons, and this is the first time he's laid a hand on an official.
He's controlled himself despite times when he felt cheated, despite times when he knew a particular official was on a vindictiveness bender.
He kept his emotions reasonably in check even when a referee threw a basketball at him in Detroit, even when another referee blew obvious calls that ultimately cost the Jazz an NBA Finals game — and maybe a shot at a title.
That's a pretty good record, and while he deserves punishment for his behavior in Sacramento, the league should use this occasion to take a serious look at the wisdom of letting a 28-year-old with no track record goad the league's longest-tenured coach into doing something he'd never done before.
How many times have you seen a referee, instead of calmly turning toward the scorer's table to signal a technical foul, move toward the offending player and signal the T in his face? Some even get a kick out of loudly saying something like "BOOM" when they T up a competitor, which is the kind of showboating we expect from players but should never see from the guys with the whistles.
How often have you seen an official signal a flagrant foul as if the player in violation had just committed a heinous crime, had just done something personally offensive to the official?
How common is it to see a referee stop to have a lengthy discussion with a player or coach when what he should do is just walk away?
Part of the problem, of course, is what they let coaches get away with anymore. At the Delta Center this season, we have seen coaches come out to near-midcourt to argue calls, and the only thing the officials do is wave him back to the bench.
We typically see opposing coaches, when free throws are being shot at their end of the court, spending the entire interlude jawing in the nearest official's ear.
So what we have is a situation where refs take too much control in some situations, not enough in another.
Which means inconsistency and arbitrariness, and nothing drives athletes — and fans — crazier than that.
Now, this doesn't even address some of the other problems with NBA referees — not the least of which is their tendency to spend 48 minutes a night in negotiation instead of rule enforcement.
But it's a start, and something the league should look at.
They won't, though. Because while the refs are guilty of inconsistency, commissioner David Stern isn't, and he's been unfailingly supportive — to the point of blind stubbornness — of his officials.
Which is great for guys like Kirkland, bad for the rest of us.



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E-MAIL: rich@desnews.com

Big Boy Laroux
01-29-2003, 02:35 PM
EXACTLY what I was saying!


except sloan has laid a hand on an official before. he pushed a ref 1n 1993.

MavKikiNYC
01-29-2003, 02:52 PM
Which one?

Rhylan
01-29-2003, 03:01 PM
is "arbitrariness" a word?

Me thinks not. But it could be. On the same tip... "Deseret." I've been wondering for years.. WTF is Deseret? How do you pronounce it, and what does it have to do with SLC?

Big Boy Laroux
01-29-2003, 03:53 PM
don't know which ref. i saw the clip of it on sportscenter this morning.

LRB
01-29-2003, 04:59 PM
<< is &quot;arbitrariness&quot; a word?

Me thinks not. But it could be. On the same tip... &quot;Deseret.&quot; I've been wondering for years.. WTF is Deseret? How do you pronounce it, and what does it have to do with SLC? >>



Ryhlan here's your answer on Derseret.

Des·er·et Pronunciation (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=Deseret)
An area proposed by the Mormons in 1849 as an independent state or a state of the Union. Deseret would have included much of the southwest United States, with a capital at Salt Lake City. Congress refused to recognize the provisional state and created the Utah Territory in 1850.

The Mormons, nickname for Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, were the primary settlers of Utah starting in 1847. The word Deseret comes from the Book of Mormon one of the books of scripture used by the church. It means Honey Bee (http://scriptures.lds.org/ether/2/3#3). It is from Deseret that the official Utah state emblem and motto (http://pioneer.utah.gov/motto.html) are derived.

centrlpark08
01-30-2003, 10:15 PM
aww..............the ref got what was coming towards him.