Referees Rumors

Sticking with basketball, do you continue to consider you bought robbed by the referees within the 2006 finals? Mark Cuban: 100 p.c. Due to ineptitude or one thing else? Mark Cuban: Ineptitude plus one thing else. I’ve had refs inform me that I wasn’t their favourite individual. In order that they have been screwing you deliberately? Mark Cuban: With out query.
Storyline: Officiating Complaints
Did you speak to the league about that? Mark Cuban: I did. They investigated it and mentioned they couldn’t show it. That yr was the final yr, as a result of I raised such hell, when many of the refereeing assignments within the finals have been based mostly on seniority. Now there’s an try and make it based mostly on job efficiency. As soon as I went via the record, proper round that 2006 timeframe, of all of the just lately employed referees. I used to be curious the place we have been hiring these folks from. These weren’t refs that have been within the pressure-cooker video games, Indiana-Purdue, Duke-North Carolina video games. They have been from these small conferences. I’m like, Why are we hiring refs from these small conferences? Seems that the man who was answerable for officiating for these small conferences was the previous coach of the individual chargeable for hiring the referees. There was this connection between the 2 of them, and so he wasn’t hiring one of the best. We employed any individual from the Rucker League! I don’t even wish to go into all the small print. It was a joke.

Storyline: L2M Report
“So on that play, at replay, Olynyk, we judged that he took an aggressive swipe and he made some contact into the facial area of Kyle Lowry,” Guthrie said in the pool report. “At replay, in my judgement, I felt like that did meet the criteria for a flagrant foul. After reviewing that more postgame, and thinking about it a little bit more, to me, it now is more of a natural basketball play going for the ball and that the contact really did not rise to the criteria of a flagrant foul. In both of these instances and cases, though, as always, I know that the league office will review them as they always do all flagrant fouls and they’ll make their determinations at the end of the day on what they think they ended up, in their judgement, that it was. But we had our judgments in the live game.”
The optics of fair play is especially important in an unprecedented environment. “Robert Frost, a great poet, once wrote, ‘Good fences make good neighbors,’” McCutchen told the Daily News over the phone Thursday. “Look, our players and coaches and referees here are very professional. If they were to run into each other, no one is going to be talking about the calls last night. Our players are too classy, our coaches are too classy, for that. That being said, in the age of cell phones, if you happen to run into each other, and you both smile as you said, ‘Hello,’ that smile on a cell phone could be interpreted a million different ways in people’s eyes. So we are in a different hotel.”
McCutchen anticipates hiccups. He also explained the difference acceptable profanity and technical-worthy profanity. “Grammar becomes very important,” he said. “‘You’re full of s–t’ is a lot different than, ‘Oh, c’mon Monty, that’s bulls–t.’ The former is definitely a technical foul, the latter maybe not so much at a low volume. I think collaboratively we’ll figure that out. Could there be some rough spots and bumps? Sure, it’s competition. But we won’t hold that against anybody.”
Like the players and coaches, referees are at Disney and quarantining for what could be a stay of at least a few weeks for most and potentially as much as three months for those who will be assigned to work the NBA Finals. “Our referees are pros and they’re going to come here ready to work,” said Monty McCutchen, the NBA’s vice president and head of referee development and training. “From the mental side, we never took any time off, quite frankly.”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
It will largely be business as usual for referees — though with two notable differences. The first of those is how the NBA Replay Center will still be operating in Secaucus, New Jersey, but the referees assigned with actually assisting in those situations will be on-site at Disney. The reason is because it didn’t make much logistical sense to send referees into the greater New York City area and have them adhere to local guidelines there by quarantining for 14 days before working games.
At Disney, there will be no fans and that means some off-color talks might get picked up on broadcasts. McCutchen isn’t worried. “We’ll look for a collaboration with coaches and players and I think coaches and players, they’ll figure out how to communicate,” McCutchen said. “A lot of yelling that goes on does go on because there’s crowd noise and in a passionate moment you want to be heard you want to be listened to. Without the crowd there, I expect our players and coaches to have an occasional burst, but because they can be heard in a different way, they will communicate in a different way.”
Longtime NBA fans may know Joe Borgia from his days as a referee in the 1980s and 1990s. NBA insiders know him from his time work in the league’s referee operations office. Today’s fans recognize Borgia as the face and voice of the NBA’s replay center in Secaucus, New Jersey where reviews are conducted along with referees on the court. Borgia was instrumental in ushering in the replay review era both as the senior vice president of replay and referee operations and the man who often explained rulings to fans watching on TV. Thursday marked the end of Borgia’s 32-year career with the NBA.
This season, Borgia transitioned from the replay center to overseeing the coach’s challenge. Former referee Jason Phillips stepped into Borgia’s old role and will be the main guy in the replay center. In retirement, how will Borgia watch NBA games? “I can’t watch it for fun,” he said. “I will be reffing a game, and I will be watching the replay saying, ‘C’mon guys. Hurry up. Let’s go.’”
It’s not just those head coaches that fall in that age range. New Orleans assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik (67), Lakers assistant coach Lionel Hollins (66) and Houston assistant coach John Lucas (66) will be facing those CDC-issued concerns along with referees Ken Mauer (65) and Michael Smith (65). A source close to the situation told NBC Sports that older NBA referees have not yet been given word about whether they will be going to Orlando.
Renata Burigatto received a text message from her husband, NBA referee Mark Lindsay, 30 minutes after the scheduled tip-off of the game he was assigned to officiate between the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder on March 11. “I texted him, ‘Oh no, you OK? Did you get hurt?” Burigatto told USA TODAY Sports. “He replied, ‘No, they stopped the game and are going to test us for the coronavirus.’ ”
Storyline: Coronavirus
That began a stressful 12 hours for the couple, who were already operating under great stress because Burigatto is a frontline COVID-19 doctor specializing in acute in-patient care at Penn Medicine’s Chester County (Pennsylvania) Hospital. “It was a very powerful night for us both on a personal and professional level,” Burigatto said. “I very busy in the hospital, working seven days in a row, 13 hours a day. Trying [to] balance that with trying to convey safety was challenging. We also have three young children at home. We were trying to keep them safe and consider whether we were going to keep them in school at that time. There was a little of uncertainty and there was a lot of anxiety about what choices we were going to make to keep all of safe.”
In their own way, Lindsay and Burigatto are at the heart of COVID-19 – Lindsay being on the court when the Thunder team doctor ran on the court to inform referees of the unfolding situation of a player testing positive and the idea that other players could be infected and Burigatto caring for patients on the East Coast. “The anxiety of her or one of us becoming infected is very real,” Lindsay said. “That thought is never too far from my mind especially when she’s at the hospital. We experience that anxiety, isolation and uncertainty.”
That being said as a referee, if you’re refereeing that play if you clearly see a push, you call a push. But that play even now looking at it on video, you see various angles you don’t know if it’s a push or not a push. Crawford added, “And you can’t base it on what happened to Russell. Because if you blew the whistle based on what happened to Russell, easy call to make. You have to call what you see, what Jordan does and you don’t see it. And when you see it, I don’t know if that was a clear-cut push. So, you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. And that play has left all these sports fans to debate and it’s a beautiful thing.”
On most mornings, Zach Zarba follows the same routine. He wakes up with his two sons, ages 7 and 5, feeds them and then moderates what he calls “the breakfast sessions.” Zarba is one of the millions of parents across the country forced to adapt in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic. On March 11, he was one of the NBA’s top referees. Every weekday since he’s been a reading and writing teacher.
Gone are 48 minutes of game time and fouls and whistles. Instead, he has to run a makeshift classroom. For a man used to directing traffic on a basketball court — and he is among the best to do it — Zarba now has a far more challenging problem. “They play the role of the players and coaches,” Zarba said. “Now they’re the ones complaining and arguing with me. You think I’d have some time off not working … They’re keeping me mentally focused.”
The months since have been like nothing else for him. His body had prepared for the long grind of an NBA season. Muscle memory snaps in during the spring months as his schedule extends into June. Last season, he worked his final game on June 7, the night of Game 4 of the NBA Finals in Oakland. This year, he hasn’t worked since a March 7 game in Portland. “I can’t really explain,” he said. “I’ve been doing this 17 years now. Your body gets into a certain — March is when you’re getting ready for the last six weeks of the season. Then this pandemic ramps up and the world changes. Absolutely, there’s a shock.”
Rivers confirms that fans are not in the league’s plans for any proposed restart scenario. “It doesn’t look like we’re going to have fans,” Rivers said. “That’s unusual. I don’t even know how that would work. The only thing I jokingly told the league is you better put earmuffs on the refs. Half the time they don’t hear the stuff we’re saying, now they’ll hear everything? Everybody’s getting thrown out.”
Bill Kennedy was part of the referee crew that worked the Detroit-Philadelphia game, which as of right now is the last NBA game played this 2019-20 season. League commissioner Adam Silver suspended play that same night March 11 after Utah Jazz all-star Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. “At that time, we went back to the hotel at the airport Marriott and we saw the press release that Adam released,” said Kennedy, a Phoenix native and 22-year NBA referee veteran. “We got an email from (NBA head of referee development and training) Monty McCutchen to get home as quickly as we could.”
Kennedy is hopeful the NBA resumes play as there have been reports the league could go as late as Labor Day weekend to crown a champion. “I am as optimistic as the guys who are in power that I know that they’re doing everything they can possibly do,” Kennedy said. “And if there is a way to do it, I think we’ll do it. Now whether or not that happens, the virus is the only thing that’s going to control that.”
“We’re getting ready to go out finally to the hallway, to do our prayer, go out for warmups, and Aaron Nelson sprints through the locker room to try to find David Griffin. And that’s when we found out Courtney Kirkland had reffed the Jazz game,” Redick said. “So, then we were having a conversation in the locker room like, you know, ‘I don’t think it’s safe to play.’ No one felt like it was safe to play. Had the NBA made us play, we would have hooped, but I know a lot of guys expressed concern that they didn’t feel like it was safe to go out and play. Not just for us, but for anyone — anyone that was in that arena that night.”