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Report: NBA Referees feel Mavericks’ Cuban has ‘undue influence’ over league officials

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The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski has a new piece with some very unflattering allegations against Dallas’ oft-vocal owner

NBA: Playoffs-Dallas Mavericks at Oklahoma City Thunder Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The National Basketball Referees’ Association is apparently not happy with Mark Cuban.

A recently published article by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports’ The Vertical goes into lengthy detail about how the Referees’ Association feels Cuban is gaining a competitive advantage for his team by asserting an undue influence over competition and rules, as well as forcing inappropriate action in refereee employment.

From Woj’s piece:

The Vertical obtained a series of memorandums distributed recently among the league’s 64 referees – including correspondences between the NBRA and NBA – that describe over a year of discord between the referees and league office, largely centered on Cuban.

In a recent letter to Byron Spruell, the NBA’s president of league operations, NBRA general counsel Lee Seham outlined what the union considers to be a lengthy pattern of documented violations by Cuban of the NBA constitution and “undue influence of the league’s management of its officials.”

“We consider the threat to the integrity of NBA basketball presented by Mr. Cuban’s misconduct to be real and growing,” Seham wrote on Dec. 9.

Cuban responded via email to The Vertical for the piece:

“To suggest I have influence is to suggest that the NBA officials can be influenced,” Cuban told The Vertical in an email. “If an official can be influenced by pressure from anyone, they should not be in the NBA. I don’t believe they can be influenced. As far as my influence on employment, several years ago I sent a list to the NBA of officials who had been NBA officials for more than a decade and never made the playoffs.”

The full piece has detailed responses from a number of sources, and I’d encourage you to head over to The Vertical and read the whole thing.

We all know Cuban has been more vocal than a lot of other NBA owners in advocating for rule and procedure changes, often in exchange for hefty fines. It’s definitely one way to get the league’s attention, and it does seem to have had some success. But this is the first I’ve heard of any kind of alleged improper action or undue influence directed at referees specifically, and it will be interesting to see if anything comes of it.