Stern threatens suspensions for continued criticism of referees

Posted by Scott Howard-Cooper

OKLAHOMA CITY — Commissioner David Stern, fed up with issuing fines for continued “corrosive” comments about referees, drew a bold line in the sand Thursday and said he will begin suspending coaches and players for postseason games if the criticisms continue.

Speaking in even tones but clearly out of patience after a stream of financial disciplines, Stern was direct and sending a strong signal in response to a question about two fines levied against Lakers coach Phil Jackson in the playoffs for trying to work referees with statements to the media.

“I wish I had it to do all over again and, starting 20 years ago, I’d be suspending Phil and Pat Riley for all the games they play in the media,” Stern said in a press conference at the Ford Center moments before Game 3 of the Lakers-Thunder series. “You guys know that our referees go out there and knock themselves out to do the best job they can, but we’ve got coaches who will do whatever takes to work them publicly. And what that does is erode fan confidence and then you get some of the situations that we have.

“So our coaches should be quiet, because this is a good business that makes them good livings and supports a lot of families. And if they don’t like it, they should go get a job someplace else. I don’t mean to be too subtle. [Laughter] And I think that Phil’s a great coach. He’s a friend of many years. I just came by and said, ‘Hi.’ And he said, ‘I don’t like you today.’ I said, ‘I like you.’ But it’s corrosive. It’s corrosive.

“Because of the pressure cooker that is the NBA playoffs, over the years I’ve let it go. But when you hear the Chicago coach [Jackson] say, ‘Oh, this game was lost because NBC wants an extra game,’ you hear a New York coach [Riley] say, ‘Well, you know, what are you gonna do? Jordan gets all the calls,’ it sounds like a lot of fun, etcetera. Or you hear a Stan Van Gundy do what he wants to say and then the players join.

“We know, inside the community, what it’s meant to do. So, OK, it’s playoff time, everyone’s crazy. Back off. But if I had to do it again, I wouldn’t. I would stop it and the price wouldn’t be a modest $35,000 fine. It would be whatever a day’s pay is, and then two days pay, and then a week’s pay. And if someone wants to try me the rest of this playoffs, make my day. The game is too important and I don’t think that the people who trash it are respecting it, and we’ll do what we have to do.

“Players and coaches alike. They give the impression to our fans that referees somehow have an agenda. Yeah, they have an agenda – to knock themselves out to give the best calls that they can give, and then to send their checks home to their mothers and give the rest to charity.”


  1. […] Stern doesn’t want people to discuss this. During last season’s playoffs, the commish threatened to suspend coaches and players for critical comments about officiating. This season, the league has given referees the power to […]

  2. […] is way out of line, and has clearly made some completely idiotic comments. Let’s look at another one: “Players and coaches alike. They give the impression to our fans that referees somehow have an […]

  3. […] they refuse to watch the playoffs because “everyone knows they’re fixed.” Heck, head over to the comments section of a blog on and see what fans are […]

  4. CyberJoker says:

    Hey maybe the ref’s are doing the best they can but if that’s the case they have a lot to learn about how to ref a game. Stern should start by teaching them the travel rule and then reminding them the same rules apply to everyone!
    Fine them for all these.

  5. emj2 says:

    It seems every player (who the foul is called on) in the league is challenging every call in every game. They stomp around, bark in the officials faces, and stare them down. The calls are not going to be changed. These men
    are not perfect and the speed of contact is blinding. It is not an exact science so respect their best efforts.

  6. Mikey H. says:

    Given the impact of some of the calls on the seeding in the playoffs ( OKC vs. Utah), Stern should at least admit that some of the refereeing in recent games needs improvement. I saw the next game reffed by Tony Brothers and he missed exactly the same call, a player shot the ball, was hit on the arm and the ball never reached the rim. Brothers did not make the right call AGAIN!

    If whining about calls deserves a fine, the bad refereeing deserves a fine as well. And the referees need to be disciplined by an OUTSIDE source. Let’s have some objectivity, not the NBA party line a la Commisar Stern!

    Also, on the last Sunday of the season Portland was playing L. A. They had a 5 point lead with about 55 sec to go. Derek Fisher slammed into Martell Webster like a fullback leading a running back into the line. NO CALL! Kobe hits a wide open 3. Next Portland is called for a questionable charge, then Kobe charges but it isn’t called; instead he is awarded an and one and suddenly the Lakers are ahead by 1.
    ( Take note Coach Jackson, he who whines about calls against his team, but never acknowledges the breaks they often get.)

    Stern’s arrogant tirade is even worse than any of the whining done by the coaches! Physician fine thyself!
    Unchecked corporate power raises its ugly head yet again.

  7. Chris Marlton says:

    Stern is correct. Denver would have beat LA last year in the conference finals if Phil Jackson hadn’t done it. Stern saw that and knows that these coaches are running the show.

  8. John says:

    Look at the tape Mr Stern. Have you seen how this players are trying to get position on Dwigh Howard? Not only that, keep looking at what they do when they are trying to keep him from getting set for a lay up. The only thing missing would be for them to grab a chair from the bench and hit Dwight in the head with it. Your refs are manipulating games, then again you must know that. Not only do you condone that behavior, but you encourage it for it makes good tv. I understand everyone makes mistakes, nevertheless when one sees Dwight Howard trying to get position for a rebound and even before the ball makes it to the rim, he has three players hanging from his arms and head and no whistle blows, it makes you think.

  9. stan 242 bahamas says:

    a am from da bahamas an we mad as hell for all the petty calling dat kills the game an make u dont want to watch nba no more only cause of a couple of great players am still watchin nba get real stern an tell the ref stop callin petty calls for once 242 baby wat it do

  10. unagi says:

    Hear no evil. See no evil. Speak no evil.

    The officiating has been crap lately and that is a problem. If you forbid everyone to talk about that problem it won’t miraculously disappear. And the fines that have been handed out recently are ridiculous. There weren’t any personal attacks towards the refs in those comments just opinions which everyone should be allowed to state.

  11. Eric says:

    Who does Stern think he’s fooling?

  12. Bored says:

    My dear children…please…stop filling pages with nonsense.Stern did lots of good things ,lots of them.And this here is another good thing.Of course that many of you don`t understand how this basketball thing works but at least shut up and enjoy the game.I suggest you go out on the court and be a referee I`m sure you`ll all be the best referees in the world.Its easy to criticise and damn hard to actually do it yourself.

  13. b.k. says:

    it seems to me mr stern is a control freak and wants to tell everyone what to do. he first told the players how to dress, then know he is telling them to keep there mouth closed and don’t voice there complaint. well i find that very unfare to the players and coach. this is the same reason why the NBA popularity has drop because people are not paying to see david stern they pay alot of money to see players out there. he is a dictator and i think it is time for him to give it up and let someone take over.

  14. LeaveStreetballOnTheStreet says:

    when i read the comments under this story, i am dumbfounded. david stern is right – the questioning of ref’s calls is corrosive, and it goes all the way down to the grade school basketball players i see arguing calls with referees. shut your mouth, respect the call and move on. nba conspiracy or not, i’m sick of watching players argue calls with referees. grow up.

  15. JJ says:

    Really? Come on. This is going too far.
    Refs sometimes make terrible decisions or call very soft fouls or no-fouls to compensate for a mistake they’ve made on the opposite side of the court. On the other hand pretty hard fouls slip by. I know it is difficult for a ref to get everything right, but consistency in calls has really been a problem.
    And when a coach like Van Gundy says something about it in a pretty calm – and most of the time nuanced – fashion, it is going to earn him a big fine or from now on even can cost him a game?… lets get real.

  16. Corey says:

    You guys are crazy! Stern does a great job. I respect that he is trying to keep some professionalism to the sport. Regardless of the refs making mistakes, the players and coaches need to act like adults. Basketball is not a sport for babies who want to throw their hands in the air when someone breathes on them. It is an emotional game, when our teams are losing we want to blame anyone but our favorite players. The superstars seem to get more calls because they are involved in more plays. There are plenty of times when Lebron doesn’t get the call his way. Being a ref is not some easy job that anyone can do, fining them for their mistakes would only make them make calls for people who complain, because if they didnt it would take money out of their wallets. You guys need to learn some respect for the game. Thank you Stern for making the NBA a respectable league.

  17. Oliver says:

    Most of you commentators are just Stern- or ref-haters. Most of the time I’m surprised at how much the refs talk to the players/coaches and explain “their view” of what happened in a nanosecond with four or five players right in front of their eyes, sometimes playing really dirty. If you want high standards, first of all try to live up to them yourselves.

  18. Oliver says:

    I’m completely on Stern’s side here. What most commentators don’t get is that refs are not allowed to discuss individual games/calls/player’s behaviour publicly. So why should people (players, coaches) be allowed to take shots at them when they can’t defend themselves. This is not about a discussion of what quality officiating is and I don’t see any refs coming out and giving Interviews on how terrible a coach substituted in a game or something.
    If you have any problem with a ref, tell the league. If those complaints sum up, those refs will not be officiating important games any more. Most refs do a terrific job.

  19. As being a coach and a referee I think that I should be able to understand this situation differently. It IS a very touchy situation. We can say that the coaches make good money so that they shouldn’t complain so much. What does money have to do with wanting things to be right and fair? At the same time games should be played on the court and not in the media. We could say that if a team wants to complain in the media so much, we will discontinue televising their games and the will make the owners put the pressure on the coaches to stay in check. But in the long run who is going to lose out here? That’s right, the FANS.
    As for the refs, the best ref is the one who just does his job and you don’t really notice them. By this I mean they keep the game about just that, the game. When the referee becomes the focal point, it never has a happy ending.
    As for Mr Stern, you should not only look to protect the refs, but, also to admonish them if they are not keeping up to the stanards of the NBA.

  20. Cross says:

    David Stern Stop cheating the fans. I’ll tell you how to get rid of David Stern, is the fans need to boycott ALL NBA GAMES until David Stern is forced to retire! I’d start the boycott! It’s time we the fan take the game back!!!!!

  21. Cross says:

    I find it funny how no one has come to David Stern’s aid on this. Read em and weep Stern… no better yet. Get a clue! The people have spoken and we’re tired of you cheating us out of real competition. We’re tired of you telling us who the big teams are. It’s no surprise that you rig the games based on television ratings. We don’t care about you freaking rating. Screw the Lakers, the Cavs, the Celtics, and the Magic! Quit setting up big money making markets teams to win championships, call the games fairly and allow the best team to win. I like all the rest of the NBA fans cannot wait for Stern to retire so that someone else will come in and hopefully return the integrity of the game. Right now no one trusts David Stern or his lackey (Refs) I wish the owners of the NBA teams would grow a set and ban together and file a lawsuit against David stern. What I find really ironic is even the President of the United States cannot escape criticism, who the heck does David Stern think that he is? Hey David Stern, How about stop cheating the game and no one will complain about your refs!

  22. lee says:

    haha i can only imagine if he suspends phil jackson and kobe and anyone else that complains cause thats what everyone wants to see right? mike bibby and the rest of the quiet hawks winning a championship because stern suspended all the guys with real talent because they spoke up.. it’ll do great for ratings. sterns an ass. if they called good games day in and day out there wouldnt be so much controversy about it, but they dont. everyone has seen the kinda crap calls and things they do to keep teams in or out of games.

  23. Jerry Katz says:

    I see so many bad or missed calls every game it makes me sick. I watched the Chicago- Cleveland game to night and I’m only going to make 1 coment. At the end of this game LeBron was mugged by Noah at the free throw lane and no call was made. Noah had his arm around Lebron’s head and neck, it was so obvious but no ref made a call. Because there were only a few seconds left in the game. Is that the reason?? As a fan for many years it just makes me sick to see the ref make calls against a player that comes close to a superstar, Kobe is the worst one, he gets more FAKE CALLS than anyone else in the league. If you want the FANS RESPECT then tell the refs to make all the calls the same, if the ref’s can’t or won’t do that then fire them. I want to see the same foul called on every player, when someone looks at KOBE wrong he shouldn’t get a foul called on him. Also if the ref makes a call in the first 3 quarters then he should make the same call at the end of the game. THE BOTTOM LINE IS JUST THIS…IF IT’S A FOUL, IT’S A FOUL, AGAINST ANY PLAYER ON ANY TEAM AT ANY TIME OF THE GAME AT ANY LOCATION..IF YOUR REF’S DON’T HAVE THE GUTS TO DO IT THE WRIGHT WAY THEN YOU SHOULD FIRE THEM AND GET REF’S THAT WILL CALL THE GAME THE WRIGHT WAY. THE WAY IT LOOKS NOW IS THAT THE GAMES ARE FIXED SO YOU GET THE BEST T.V. RATINGS, THATS JUST AS BAD AS YOUR REF DONAHEE DID. WE THE FANS UNDERSTAND THAT RATINGS ADD UP TO A LOT OF MONEY FOR YOU AND THE OWNERS AND THATS WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT…MONEY, MONEY, MONEY FOR YOU DAVID STERN..WHO DO YOU THINK YOUR KIDDING, WE KNOW WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT…………………………….

  24. la says:

    why only fine the coaches and players for criticizing the refs .. they should also fine the refs for the bad calls that they make because its costing fans a good game. and that the refs should at least be fair no more superstar treatment. the calls for lebron james should be the same as lester hudson (memphis)

  25. angel says:

    Maybe its time to break the monopoly and start a whole new basketball leaqure that cares more about the game than the money they are making on TV broadcasts. A little competition is the american way.

  26. Toby says:

    Even out of the NBA some refs give soft calls. Some even go the opposite ‘No blood, no foul’ call. I guess refs are people. They make mistakes. Will be interesting to see if Stern goes the distance in suspending players throughout the playoffs if they get involved in a scuffle/fight with other players (i.e. Garnett out for the series? :P)

  27. Rols says:

    All you have to look at is the stats to see that these games aren’t being called fairly.

    Game 1 of San Antonio Dallas? The mavs have something like a 12-34 advantage in shooting free throws

    Game 3 of Los Angeles OKC? The thunder shoot 34 free throws to the lakers 15. I’m no lakers fan, but when kobe doesn’t get to the line ONCE in the game and KD goes 13 times, something can’t be right.

    • Cross says:


      Look at game two of the Dallas/ Spurs game. Dallas got fouled several times in the first qaurter without a single call. It took them 4 minutes to even get on the board while on the other end the Spurs we’re getting to go to the line almost after every posession. The Spurs would have been up more if they were able to make their free throw. I thought that the most ironic part of that game was the headlines posted on’s site stating the second seed Spurs were trying to go up 2-0 against the sixth seed Mavericks. Really? The game is so biased that the people working as writers couldn’t get their stories straight. It is in fact the Mavericks who are the number 2 seed not the Spurs, nor are the Spurs up 2-0. Just proves my point. The game is rigged! It’s sooooooo freaking obvious. As matter of fact, it’s so rigged that for the past two years I’ve been able to predict the whole playoff series down to how many games teams would win by and who would face each other in the Finals and who would win the Championship. Woo hoo, David Stern’s golden boy Kobe Bryant is given another championship….. Big Freakin Deal!!!!

  28. Patrick says:

    The fine on Stan Van Gundy is nuts; watch that interview again. He was on the boarder, but not over. Coaches have made comments like that for years without fines.

    I can see why he’d be unhappy. The calls haven’t been good. An ideal example is the forth foul on Howard. Nazr Mohammad hit Carter with a moving pick before Wallace’s shot attempt. Mohammad arm was pushing outward. Carter didn’t stop, he fell back eight feet. Easy call.

    It’s not like the officials have been strict or loose. They’ve been random. I can see why Larry Brown says his team “is having a hard time getting to the free throw line.” Look at the no-call on Barnes with the Stephen Jackson headband foul. I think David Sterns should be complaining about the officiating more than Phil Jackson or Stan Van Gundy.

  29. Tony305 says:

    David Stern really thinks coaches and players should just “keep quiet”? Does David Stern really think he runs the NBA? It was one thing to command the players to dress how HE wants them to dress, now he’s trying to control how everyone speaks? We all know how bad the ref’s can be sometimes, but let a person express how they feel about it after the game. It seems like Stern is a control freak, and that in itself is bad for the NBA. How much longer do we have to see his face in the NBA? He has to know by now that his league will never ever pass the NFL, so he should loosen up a little, relax, and let the players and coaches be as outspoken as they want to be. You never know, maybe people will even start paying attention to the NBA during football season.

  30. steve says:

    wow he would do this. plus the criticism of the refs and the coaches and players arguing is what made the game more fun too

  31. kevin says:

    This brings me back to that greAT Jazz-Thunder game when Durant went for the 3 at the last seconds of the game and was clearly fouled right in front of the REF’s FACE! But of course no call cuz it was in Utah. Screw that. There’s obviously refs out there with no backbone. If you’re going to fine players/coaches a weeks salary then you have to fire refs for making horrible calls like that. Sending a message should go both ways in sports.

  32. Wilson says:

    I understand where he is coming from, but it really doesn’t make too much sense. It seems like he’s always trying to cover everything up. It makes fans suspicious and I don’t like it.

  33. r3verend says:

    Maybe the refs where not up to their A-Game but I think the issue which is adressed here is increasing the pressure via the media. Since Refs are Humans they make mistakes. It is part of the game and the fascination of basketball and it creates nice aftermatch discussions in the pubs 🙂

    of course he is a dictator. Business aint demcracy after all 😉

  34. Nike says:

    Quite short-sighted statement by Stern. Now he can’t back off of this because then the amount of criticism would surely be more than any ref could handle. On the other hand if he keeps his line about this then the league can really control how every play is called without anyone with the required credibility (Phil, SVG etc.) being able to criticise them. This would also lead to really good coaches suffocating unable to use their skills and also the game becoming ONLY entertainment…

  35. Hank says:

    If referees arent criticized, how are they gonna get better. If they dont realize the mistakes made how else will they find out? Stern is out of line. Criticism should be allowed if there is evidence of the bad call. No one should be fined for being right.

  36. Prophetnoise says:

    can we please just have a mediator reverse an obvious bad call.. with the pace of the game and the capacity for human error why not take advantage of the replay that they show on television and get the call right.. it’s not hard.. “oh it takes too much time to get each call correct that way” oh really? not like the game doesn’t take forever anyways.. i want justice and so do the fans.. if it adds on 10-15 mins to get the calls correct then so be it.. unfortunately whatever i say really doesn’t matter now does it..

  37. Dimitri says:

    What a joke! Thunder shot 22 more free throws than the Lakers and Stern is looking the other way! Go Away!

  38. mugwump says:

    The only question is this: how are referees selected for playoff games? Ping pong balls? Voted in by their peers? Or is it some secret decision by Stern using the known tendencies of the refs to shape the outcome of the game?

    The answer: it’s some secret selection by Stern using the known tendencies of each official to shape the game a certain way. I think that is where the anger lies…

  39. Eric D. M. Miller says:

    When the refs stop making bad calls, then the coaches should stop criticizing them.

  40. Matt says:

    horrible horrible move by stern, this is going to bring refereeing to a new low in the playoffs, just horrible

  41. holyorders says:

    i totally agree with don, if coaches and players be fined for criticizing the refs, so should be the refs for bad calls…

    remember the foul of CJ Miles on Kevin Durant at the end of regulation? They’ve admitted that it is a foul and did not make the call on it. OKC would have won the game, or send it into overtime at the very least.

  42. Suriken says:

    How about the agenda in Kings-L.A. game 6?
    I loved the episode where Bibby got a foul for being elbowed by Kobe. Excellent refs’ job!

  43. Vh says:

    I’m glad to discover the perceptions of other fans are similar to mine. The arrogance of the commissioner is offputting! David, give the fans some credit, we aren’t all ignorant, uneducated, gullible people (which appears to be his assumption, as he continues to allow marketing after a certain demographic- but that’s another discussion-). We are capable of interpreting what we see, just as well as you are. Some fans are more educated than you are, so quit acting like we are all clueless little kids who are swayed by media tactics.
    If you’re not careful the NBA will follow after the direction of boxing. So much controversy and corruption caused fans/people to leave the sport, as it began to resemble the phony wrestling entertainment, as the victor was already pre-determined. Talk about out of touch, I’m convinced that the average fan watches more game- time than the commissioner himself. Anyone watching can see the new breed of referees are just not equipped to handle the difficult job. It strengthens my opinion and argument, when I find that this issue is one commonality between fans of opposing teams. Even attempting to remove my own personal bias, by watching teams compete (where I could care less who wins), I have found the presence of poor officiating.

    Rather than trying to sweep this under the rug (or in this case steam-roll over), the arrogant commissioner should openly address these issues. It is the only way to regain the credibility of the association and (more importantly) the trust of the fans. Who does he think he is, without the fans he is nothing. In 20 years we will all remember Riley and Jackson, but Stern? Stern who? Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. I never had a major problem with him until this boisterous statement. What a tool! Maybe he should show some consistency and shut that idiot (Jeff VanGundy) up. Isn’t he doing the same thing? Game after game he criticizes the officiating as well as everything else that he sees. That guy is annoying. I have to watch the games with the volume off, just to make it through. And just for the record, Lebron still hasn’t won a ring so quit giving him the crown of superiority, until he does it a few times (sorry, I know that was out of left field).

    My point in all this rambling is that the league is headed for some dark days as the commissioner continues to walk down this road. If he is going to come out and literally threaten people with their jobs, then he needs to get off his high-horse, and address every single aspect of the association, not just his personal vendettas with coaches.
    Questions: Why is he only now, so concerned with these issues? Why not back in the day?
    Answer: Because the issue has gotten out of hand and he knows there is a major problem. Unfortunately, he’s taking the wrong route in responding. Better get new PR people Davey boy. Take it from Tiger, you’ve gotta address the (real) issues or they’ll continue to compound. Give the fans their due credit!

    Long-Live the Legacy of the NBA!

  44. Travis says:

    Dear Stern,
    Please let the NBA Playoff’s be the NBA Playoff’s, that’s what has created great NBA Playoff games become great NBA Playoff games. Enough with the threats of fines and suspensions, you are prohibiting the NBA Playoff’s from becoming a great NBA Playoff in 2010. Let the coaches be coaches, let the players be players. It’s the freaking NBA Playoff”s!!! Nobody is rushing the stands, no punches have been thrown, This is what it means to be a professional basketball player, all the hard work, all the devotion, all the community events and charities for the NBA by the NBA, to strive for a goal and that is to achieve a NBA championship trophy as a reward. I don’t know where I’m going with this, just wait until the playoff’s are over to voice your concerns Mr. Stern.


  45. Giovanni says:

    I tend to think refs make a hard job and do it well. Officiating is very difficult at an NBA level and they get most calls right. Of course they also make errors, but I don’t think they influence the result of a game. A game is won or lost because of players and coaches, not because of refs (there may be a few exceptions, but that’s human). However, if that’s true, Stern’s reasoning is even more debatable. If the refs are truly professional, they should not bother of being criticized and so there should be no concern in coaches trying to play games with the media as long as they don’t offend or disrespect them. With that in mind, threatening suspensions seems more an act of avoiding transparency, censorship and dispotism than an act to preserve and enhance the game.

  46. alex says:

    the refs do have a hard job, no doubt… but there shouldnt be any bias refereeing certain stars or players..
    i also think that replays should be used more often. for example when durant was fouled by cj miles.. that was a ridiculous no call.. a close examination should have been done.. that game could have changed the thunder’s position in the playoffs, and could have changed the whole western standings..
    anyways thats possibly some frustration on my part..

    i agree if coaches and players are going to be fined for talking, referees should be fined for missed calls

  47. SternSUX says:

    Stern is just trying to keep everyone hush since he’s being investigated. The total crap that goes on with the refs is beyond my believe. The Raptors got robbed out of a playoff birth because it’s a Canadian team and the Bulls got in for obvious reasons. If you saw some of the games near the ending stretch you would think that the Refs were blind. No one cares because it’s Canada and that’s the truth. I’m not sour that the Raptors didn’t make the playoffs I’m sour because all the games they lost down the stretch the other teams were favoured with a 2-1 ratio with foul calls.

  48. NateF says:

    Robot referees, please?

  49. junnex says:

    it’s basket mr. stern…commenting on bad call by the refs is natural..if the call was bad do you fine the refs?

  50. lakers4ever says:

    What stern is doing is a bunch of BS . He did this last year to the LAKERS extending all there series . The same thing is happening this year. Look at the game tonight 34 free throws to just 12 for the defending champs and KB24 none REALLY . Stern is hurting the game by making it so obivous . The NBA is starting to look like the WWF or WWE see what I meen ?

  51. SternISanEPICfail says:

    What about the more than OBVIOUS foul to the Oklahoma player, when they played against Utah.
    And thanks to that bad call “No foul” Utah won, and sent Oklahoma to the bottom 8 seed.
    Did the ref got fined for been so blind?

  52. A.S says:

    Yea so umm… even at this level of competition the people directly invovled in giving commisioner Stern a job cant have an opinion?

    The refs, like anyone in any like of work, tried their heart best. That’s a given. However, also common with everyone, is the fact that people make mistakes. When people have poor judgement or make mistakes, they should be open to ridicule.

    Basketball has gone from a passiionate game to a Wimbledon Lawn Tennis wannabe business, negotiated by putting the ball into the hoop.

    There’s a dress code for a sport that originated with people wearing mini boxers and a vest to play. There are attitude controls, emotional barriers. No more rivalries, only marketing succeses.

    Even though I continue to eagerly watch as many games as I can, and still follow up on everything in the game regularly… I have long mourned the loss of Professional Basketball as a sport.

  53. techxinsider says:

    honestly, enough is enough, I think we’re fans of one thing, basketball, and no one, be it a player or coach should be a forced to show respect for the NBA if the NBA hasn’t shown respect for the game. Is it too much to ask that games be officiated honestly ? I might add, that if all we had were “yes” men in any sport, it’d be watching a game without any spunk or personality. When something is wrong, no one has any right to say anything? Are we in China?

  54. john stellman says:

    So David Stern made these comments before the Laker-Thunder game. What? The officials warned the commissioner ahead of time that they were going to screw the Lakers!

  55. Tanya says:

    Anyone who follows sports knows the refs have the worst job out there. However, when fouls are not called repeatedly against a team in a game and they happen right in front of the ref, it goes beyond just missing a call. They need to be held accountable for their blatant mistakes just as the players and coaches are fined and suspended for theirs. They seem to be given way too much leniency and David Stern protects them much more than should be allowed. It’s a job. If you do not do well at your job, you are disciplined. The refs need to be disciplined.

  56. Mr. Suares says:

    Its understandable that when reputed coaches like Phil Jackson or Pat Riley or even someone like Van Gundy criticizes officials, it does erode the game’s credibility. I can also understand that while most of these referees are doing they’re level best at making right calls, they are prone to making mistakes; mistakes that can come at crucial points in the game which may be huge in turning around a series and even in winning a championship.
    But what about the credibility already damaged by referees like Tim Donaghy? Personally as a fan, when I see bad calls being made, I have doubts too as to whether these are really mistakes or not. With Stern, looking after the ‘best interest of the NBA’, who is to say that he is not in on ANY of this to boost ticket sales, ratings, merchandise etc. Who is to say that its not all part of a big marketing scheme?!
    Now, sitting at home I dont know all these things. But It doesnt change the fact that regardless of whether Matt Barnes or Van Gundy or dare i say, Rasheed Wallace says anything, I as a fan try and believe that the referees are trying to do a fair job. But I dont see what it is an issue at all if anyone criticizes the NBA? It is an opinion and everyone’s entitled to it. I understand that Mista Zen master ‘jackson tries to get into people’s minds and maybe try and get the ref’s to ‘subconsciously’ give Kobe more calls and get him to the free throw line, but is that really so? People can say a lotta things, doesnt necessarily mean that its true. So what if the officials are criticized for something that IS a bad call? It’ll only help them keep it in mind the next time around. and why is it that all of a sudden, he doesnt want to fine people but rathe suspend them now? Really? I think its cause people like Rasheed say ‘Well yeah these fines, it doesnt hurt my family. I have enough money and if receiving these fines did hurt me financially I would stop. but it isnt’
    The way I see it, this is just another one of Stern’s ploys to wield his authority and show his control over the league. He has been doing this for so many years and he loves to get on a power trip every other day. Personally, I think Stern and Stu Jackson need to be gone. They’re too old school, the game has changed and they need to realize that things are not the same. Let the people talk, let the athletes play the game and let the refs keep doin their thing.

    THE NBA- where ‘guess whos boss’ happens

  57. Cyber_Alert says:

    Every Body Around The World Who Has A Television And The Ability To View An NBA Game Sees And Watches The Replays, And Can Point Out A Bad Call. Me Personally, I Hate To See A Bad Call At Home Watching The Game, Knowing That It Is Being Played On Every Display In The Arena, And Yet, The Call Is Not Reversed Or Called Correctly.

    There Is No Reason Why NBA Officials Cannot Review Those Replays To Accurately Call A Game Weather It Be
    Pre-Season, Regular Season Or Post Season (Play-Offs). It Takes Nothing Away From The Game And It Gives Fans All Around The World Assurance That The Game Will Be Called Down The Line. The Camera Men Seem To See More Than The Refs Who Are Being Paid To See And Call Fouls. (Ha, Ha, Ha)

  58. Bizznizzle fo shizzle says:

    OK, this is pretty much BS. How can you suspend someone for stating AN OPINION. If Phil Jackson or Stan Van Gundy thinks their team is being treated unfairly they should be allowed to speak their minds. Why is Stern keeping everything hush hush? because EVERYBODY knows that NBA referees are TERRBIBLE at their job. Tim Donaghy was not the first nor will he be the last ref to cheat in order to further his or another’s agenda. Either for money or for the simple fact that in order to want to be a referee you need to be a fan of the sport you’re officiating. If you’re a fan of a sport you’re 99% likely to be a fan of a given team. Bias happens. Can you honestly tell me that officials don’t give LeBron James FTs on obvious charging calls? Look at game 3 Lakers vs. Thunder. I’m a fan of both teams, but could someone PLEASE tell me how Kobe Bryant can go an entire game without taking a SINGLE freethrow? The most difficult player to guard in the entire league can be “held” to 22 points without being fouled on a single shot? C’mon, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize thats bad officiating. Maybe the refs are crooked, maybe the NBA doesn’t want to see any sweeps. Everyone knows that Lakers games means ratings, and ratings mean money. So since the NBA absolutely will not admit their mistake I guess I need to say “sorry Kobe you’re too good and have too many haters to be allowed fair treatment.”

  59. Benedict says:

    If you want refs to be 100% all the time, we should start doing research on robotic referies. Camera referies. Or add 3 more refs into the game. I was a ref before for an amtuer league, and its not an easy job. But we do our best to make the right calls. True, sometimes there are human errors, but thats the trade off. Want better calls? Add more refs to the game, or robots. If thats impossible, then live with it. We’re all you have.

  60. kathy says:

    So I would love to hear Sterns take on the laker/ thunder game tonight, since he was right there watching. The thunder went to the line more than twice as often as the lakers, and Kobe, who was double and triple teamed all night, wasn’t fouled once? Really? So are you telling me that the Thunder played a perfect defensive game against him? That all those defenders around him didn’t touch him once? It is truly amazing to me that such obvious disrpencies are allowed to go on and, coaches and players are not allowed to voice an opinion even. We do live in America right, freedom of speech is still our right, isn’t it?

  61. Mark says:

    In Australia, the coaches and plaers are allowed to criticize a ref/official as long as they don’t question their integrity. Questioning decisions or saying the ref had a shocker is fine as long as you don’t imply that the ref was somehow biased.

  62. Mike De says:

    I am trying to keep faith in the NBA but when you see the terrible calls made I might as well be watching WWF. I know those player are expensive but COME ON MAN.

  63. Josh Phillips says:

    David Stern should be ashamed of himself. He’s not addressing the real problem, which is the poor officiating. As many other intelligent people have already said, we sit in our living rooms and watch officials miss calls every game. Many of these games are decided by a few points, and calls can change the outcome of the game. Yet the subjectivity continues. We don’t ever hear about officials being suspended or fined for being terrible at their jobs. If the average employee made as many mistakes at his job as officials the NBA officials, then he would be living in a box in an alley somewhere. Where is the accountability? I realize that basketball is a fast game and that their job is tough. Help the officials out, make use of modern technology. Why not use replay to assist the officials on more than just a player’s foot being over the line on a three point attempt. Why not adopt a system similar to the NFL where coaches can challenge calls? If they really believe the call is wrong let them throw a challenge flag. If wrong, then they lose a timeout, etc…
    Also, clearly certain players are treated differently. Kobe and Lebron are treated as untouchables. Every time someone gets near them a foul is called, regardless of if they’re even touched. Dwight Howard can’t fight for a rebound or establish post position without getting cheap fouls. Stan Van Gungy was right to complain about the differential in the treatment of post players. Shaq used to be treated much the same way early in his career, then he was placed on the NBA’s magic star list and was allowed to win four championships.
    Mr. Stern needs to fix his product. His failure to demand accountability and a higher standard for his officials is ruining the integrity of his product. His lack of adaptation to modern technology and the NBA star treatment is corroding the game. There is more than one reason that the NFL dominates the major sports landscape in ratings and revenue. They put the best possible product on the field year after year. The league is not perfect but they challenge themselves to get better each and every off-season. They make rule adaptations, share revenue, use a salary cap, have franchise tags. They keep a competitive balance and small market teams can legitimately compete. They don’t put a water downed product on the field and they make every effort to get every call right. Getting it right matters. The fans don’t like to sit at home watching their big screens and make better calls than the officials. What the heck is a foul and what’s not? Take the guess work out of it.
    And stop blaming the coaches. They just say what everyone else at home is thinking. Don’t put so much pressure on the officials, help them out with technology. And give the coaches a voice with challenges. Let them put their money where their mouth is. Please make your game better. Staying the same, means you are getting worse.

  64. Tiago says:

    What hurts our confidence in the game, are these authoritarian measures to defend the undefendable. Coaches and players are entitled to complain all they want regardless how much they make, which is a lot less than they produce for the league, bringing it up is LOW.

    What’s going on in the Orlando-Charlotte series is embarrassing already; it’s obvious to fans as many other incidents have been in the past. Even if it’s innocent, the right attitude would be to address it somehow, maybe even apologize, or stay quiet, but fining those who speak about it further deteriorates our trust in the NBA, it tells us the NBA is in line with what’s going on and they will take measures to keep it as it is. If it was innocent then the NBA could try and fix it, not try to keep it as it is, if one thought it’s on purpose, these measures could be seen as indications of it.
    In stead of doing this Stern should be concerned about guaranteeing that the officiating is fair, and he won’t have worry about things anymore.
    When players play wrong, people talk about it, why not? When officials make mistakes, people have the right to talk about it too.

  65. sunman says:

    Watch any Nuggets game against any opponent and try to say the refs aren’t biased! Melo gets called for “touch” fouls while the other team is allowed to beat him up every time he posts up or touches the ball! Watch any NBA game. You can tell which players or teams the refs like/dislike. The refs obviously have some sort of “agenda” for or against many players/coaches/teams. The NBA could replace all the refs for the price paid to one good coach/player. If Stern is really concerned about the integrity of the game he should be alarmed at the calls this season!

  66. Shaun says:

    I agree with all of the comments above, especially after watching A. Staudmire getting knocked around in a flagrant fashion, with either no call – or a call going the other way. Stern is weak when it comes to dealing with the ref’s, especially when some of the ref’s admitted to being involved with gambling bets on the side of even the games that they’re reff-ing!!! Where is the dicipling for corruption or just plain bad calls. If Stern doesent take a good hard look on dealing with ref mistakes, there will be more public skecpticism about the integrity of NBA officiating.
    Nuff said –

  67. CJM says:

    What is Stern trying to hide? He actually thinks the comments of the coaches somehow cause the fans to have less confidence in the refs. I believe it’s the lack of any type of consistency in calls that takes away from confidence in the refs.
    What he really should have done 20 years ago, was put together some type of clear definition of the various fouls. And then made sure through the years the refs stayed with those guidelines. It seems like it is all up to the refs’ attitude at the time.
    He should check out the NFL rulebook. They define their infractions with great detail. They will occasional make a wrong call in the NFL. But you never have a NFL game that after it’s over you feel like the refs were trying to help one side or another. In the NBA, I fell like that after games all the time. And not because a coach said it, because I have eyes!

  68. JoeT says:

    The NBA refs do a good job most of the time, but when they are bad they are bad. David Stern needs to look at the big picture his refs are not infallible and they really do suck sometimes. The truly should have another ref on the sidelines reviewing the calls and over turn them when they miss calls.

  69. Danny says:

    Enough about the refs. Try doing more than suspending players for throwing elbows. If Amare doesn’t get a suspension for tonight’s cheap shot at LaMarcus I’m boycotting the NBA.

  70. Bob says:

    So according to his logic, if a player or coach says something good about the ref, they should be paid.

  71. TDen says:

    I just sent a note to NBA through their website but I’ll comment here too. It’s blatant that the refs favor people like Kobe, LeBron, Carmelo, Kevin Garnett, etc.. It’s totally unfair. I get so angry watching sometimes I feel like screaming. Get a clue Stern; it’s the refs who ARE the problem, not the fact that the players or coaches criticize them.

  72. edgar says:

    Maybe Stern should start suspending referees. Look at the OKC-Laker game 3 – 37 free thows for OKC versus 12 for LA? That’s unreal. The referees’ agenda should be to not affect the outcome of games with their whistles.

  73. SwampFoxxx says:

    I have been watching basketball for years. But over the last couple years, the refs have done a below average job. Some of the calls you could see were blatantly wrong. I’m not saying the refs don’t have a difficult job but a lot of the calls this year make you feel like they got orders from up top to make sure a game goes a certain way. I cannot understand how simple touch fouls are called against a team or player and then on the other side of the coin other teams and/or players are being mauled and guess what; No Foul Called. Wonder why Mr. Stern??? Can the game be called down the middle??? Or would this be bad for business???

  74. mrprob says:

    you guys got referees, you guys got computers and replays and all that but still, making mistakes after mistakes.
    Yeah i know we all made mistakes but NBA league nowadays is having too many mistakes on calls.
    Look @ Jazz vs Nuggets game 2, how frustrating was that ? and imagine u being a player on the court…. much much worse.I’d say some ref are too old to follow the speed of the game right now and get some help from replay would be best

  75. Angel says:

    so the refs can cheat for certain teams and the opposition cant make a complaint?
    all season long, the refs were bad in general

    • sboy says:

      Remember the Dallas game last year where Dallas fouled and the refs missed the call? That resulted in a 1 game swing against the mavericks. Stern didn’t do anything against the refs. He simply apologized.

  76. don says:

    So does David Stern fine the refs for bad calls. In every game we see obvious bad calls, not necessarily any agenda to stretch out the series or give an advantage to one team or the other, just bad calls. And if the coach or a play comments on it they get fined. If the ref got fined, I didn’t hear about it.

  77. ivan says:

    This is the kind of thinking that does not advance the interest of the league, Criticisms, no matter how harsh, are always good. It is hypocritical to say that officiating in the NBA is at par with international standards. It stinks. Morons can officiate better. No wonder Team USA is finding it more and more difficult to win the World Championships and the Olympics.

  78. JSKCKNIT says:

    “You guys know that our referees go out there and knock themselves out to do the best job they can, but we’ve got coaches who will do whatever takes to work them publicly. And what that does is erode fan confidence and then you get some of the situations that we have.”

    Its not the coaches that create that perception. The referees created it themselves. I’m not going to say the refs don’t have a hard job. The speed and skill of the players makes it difficult to get the right call 100% of the time. But when you see touch fouls on one player, and yet another player gets mugged and there’s no call… lends credence to our perceptions.

    I don’t fully understand why Stern wants to keep everything so hush-hush either.

    • Jennifer says:

      Why are the refs so untouchable? They are human like the rest of us and therefore make mistakes. Why can they never be called out on their (obvious) mistakes? If someone is charged with a crime, are they not entitled to a trial? So why are players and coaches not allowed to defend themselves when a bad call is made? And where in the rulebook does it state that players are allowed to grab Dwight Howard’s head? Just ONE example of negligent refereeing….