On Monday, general counsel for the National Basketball Referee's Association ripped into the NBA for not suspending Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer for making contact with a referee during a game. In his statement, the refs' general counsel appeared to also take a swipe at Mavs owner Mark Cuban:
Referees operate in an environment in which an influential NBA team owner has repeatedly mocked the efficacy of fines as means to change bad behavior. Recent league precedent dictated that a coach who aggressively charged onto the floor during live action and physically interfered with a referee would be suspended.
"An influential NBA team owner" .... yeah, anyone's guess who that is.
This morning, Rick Carlisle (in his role as president of the NBA Coaches Association) responded strongly.
NBA coaches association president Rick Carlisle's response to refs union: pic.twitter.com/vHbKuyPrpN— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) November 24, 2015
Interesting language by the coach. Reads more like a haughty comeback in a political debate than the sort of farm-yard inspired metaphors we've been getting from Rick lately.
Personally, I loved this. The statement by the refs yesterday read to me as completely tone-deaf and absurd, especially given the fairly incidental nature of the incident between Coach Bud and the referee. It seems pretty crazy that pretty much anyone associated with the NBA is instantly fined exorbitant sums for merely questioning the judgment or job performance of a referee, yet the referees union feels like they are some disrespected, persecuted group.
Regardless of anyone's feelings about NBA referees, good on Carlisle for standing up for his colleague. We'll see if anything more comes of this in the next few days.