Harsh Reality for NBA Referees

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NBA Throwing Refs Under Bus

Is the NBA Throwing Refs Under the Bus?

Being an NBA referee is no easy gig.

Players aren’t the biggest fans of them, and fans certainly can’t stand them, but really, refs are entrusted with the responsibility of following ten of the greatest athletes in the world at every second of every game, at the very same time while coaching continuously scream at them. It’s really not easy.

In March of 2015 a new concept was introduced, known as the L2M. Essentially a report of the last two minutes of every basketball game. The calls that were made, the calls that weren’t made, and so on and so forth. While the executive vice president of basketball operations, Kiki Vandeweghe assuring the league that the NBA does not plan to abolish the L2M report, the concept has been garnering more and more negativity from both players and referees.

“The refs didn’t lose us that game. We lost that game. We could have been better,” Durant said after one reporter told him the Golden State Warriors would have benefited from a foul call that was missed by the referees on Christmas Day against the Cleveland Cavaliers. “I think it’s bulls–t that the NBA threw the refs under the bus like that.”

As much as referees can be frustrating, Durant has a point. All the NBA is doing is throwing the referees under the bus, announcing which critical plays their employees butchered after games have already concluded.

NBA officials have argued that the L2M report should be abolished as for one thing, it has no impact on the outcome of the game. It creates more hostility towards referees by emphasizing the percentage of calls blown as opposed to the percentage of the correct calls made. Another argument is that over the past year and a half there has been no evidence for any benefits associated with the L2M.

So why continue using this report?

Understandably, the NBA wants to improve the credibility of its game, but this is not the correct way to do it. Officials will never be perfect and using technology to replay the final two minutes of games multiple times over to see missed calls does nothing of value other than putting the league officials under a bad light. Officiating is an imperfect science and because referees are human, there will always be calls that are missed in crunch time.

On the other hand, if the NBA wants to find a way of holding its officials accountable for the calls that they miss, there is a better way of handling things. NBA players have to speak to the media after games and if they made certain plays in-game that led to a loss, they would be asked to speak about said plays with the media.

Same idea can be applied to referees. If the NBA wants to hold their officials more accountable, have them be available to the media postgame as well. If anything, this only adds the same pressure that NBA players have to deal with and can force referees to be even more attentive to the NBA games.

You’re welcome, NBA.

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