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You clock into your normal 9-5 job and your coworker makes a huge mistake that puts your team behind weeks. The whole team is concerned about losing their jobs because of the mistake, but all your coworker gets is a slap on the wrist.
This is similar to what most referees are experiencing in the sports world — they are not being held accountable, according to The Towerlight. As the referees are deciding the outcome of more and more games — and not the actual players — it’s time to do something about it.
For basketball fans, this is, unfortunately, the norm. The NCAA and NBA have some of the worst referees in all of sports, and game after game, it seems like we can’t do anything to change the outcome.
Sacramento Kings fans have been crying for the past decade that the 2002 Western Conference Finals were rigged — favoring the big market, star-studded Los Angeles Lakers. In a vital game six, the Lakers shot a whopping 40 free throws, 27 of which came in the fourth quarter, while the Kings shot a mere 25 free throws, nine in the fourth quarter.
Things became even more suspicious when disgraced former NBA ref Tim Donaghy was suspended for gambling on the games he was reffing. Donaghy ran the scheme with his childhood friends for 11 years, according to ESPN. Current NBA ref Scott Foster has a similar reputation, as he had connections to Donaghy, according to Sports Illustrated.
NBA YouTuber FreeDawkins compiled a 10-minute video of what he thought were the worst calls from NBA referees so far in the 2022-23 season.
The evidence is clear — NBA referees and referees in general are running wild, and it’s time to change the outcome.
The referees are supposed to be the justice system for sports — having no emotional attachments, unbiased and fair. But, how is that possible if time and time again it seems like they’re favoring a certain team or player?
The NBA created the “Last Two Minute” report in 2015 as a way to review calls that were missed during crunch time. The L2Ms are part of the NBA’s ongoing effort to build a greater awareness and understanding of the rules and processes that govern the game, according to the official website of NBA refs.
But, let’s be realistic. They’re useless. The report is saying — “Oops, we messed up. It’s not like it was important or anything. We’ll do better next time.” Except, they never do.
Yes, referees are human and mistakes happen. Judging a sport, especially one as fast-paced as basketball, is one of the toughest jobs out there, but to have almost zero accountability and to have a critical impact on a game and even some players’ legacy is something different.
On Jan. 7, the EuroLeague — a European professional basketball league — suspended four referees after they missed a crucial out-of-bounds call that changed the course of the game, according to Sports Manor.
This was an interesting tactic — as those referees actually felt the consequences of their actions — something many referees don’t feel.
Another possible solution to hold refs accountable is to hold post-game conferences like the ones held for the players.
Referees can explain to the media what they saw from their perspective. Additionally, just like the players, they are asked the tough questions. They’ll also be on the record for these conferences, so people can have the ability to refer to these quotes should they find any inconsistencies.
Regardless, referees have been super inconsistent as of late, and the product of the game has been affected for too long. It’s time to make changes before more games are altered by the referees and not the players.
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Contact Jerry Jiang via Twitter ( @j_jiang30 ) or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org