April 07, 2006

Shaq fined $15,000 for criticizing NBA officials: Shaquille O'Neal was fined $15,000 Friday for criticizing officials and NBA senior vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson after the Miami center was for called for five fouls in the Heat's loss to New Jersey.

posted by STUNNER to basketball at 06:04 PM - 40 comments

Oh man...Shaq, Kobe, Sheed, who cares who insults the refs...why are we talking about this anyways... Where is the link about the Bulls leaping over a falling 76ers club? Where is the link to the MVP race between Nash, Billups, Tony Parker, LeBron and Kobe? Where is the link to the West Race? The Draft? Hell, the Knicks would be a better read... But we get to hear about another overpaid superstar complain about the officiating...sigh...

posted by chemwizBsquared at 06:22 PM on April 07, 2006

Shaquille O'Neal was fined $15,000 Friday for criticizing officials and NBA senior vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson Critcizing to who[m]?

posted by Folkways at 06:26 PM on April 07, 2006

This is my very favorite fine... they are required to talk to the cameras after the game, but they are severely censored as to how much of their opinions they can truly give. If the Refs are messing up, why can't the players talk about it? I really have trouble understanding this one.

posted by everett at 06:47 PM on April 07, 2006

Anyone who finds a link and wants to start a thread on the Bulls, the MVP race, the Knicks or just about any other sports story is welcome. It will be judged by the Spofi Posters who either post to it or ignore it. Not all FFP's will appeal to everyone.

posted by Termite at 06:47 PM on April 07, 2006

also, Chemwiz: Did you watch the game? the officiating was awful; I won't defend Shaq very often, but man... he couldnt even dribble in the lane without someone falling on their backs like he had steam rolled them. He had a valid complaint I thought.

posted by everett at 06:49 PM on April 07, 2006

I saw the game. I guess the elbow Collins caught in the face must have been my imagination. I've watched Shaq abuse and bloody people over the years and get no calls so to hear him cry now is hilarious. Side note: Nets will beat the Heat if they meet in the playoffs

posted by doggstarr at 07:45 PM on April 07, 2006

I agree in that it is stupid that the NBA forces the players to talk to reporters after the game, but then when they speak their mind they get fined. If the officials are bad, then the player should have the right to say so. I do want to see the what the NBA's official rules are regarding talking about officials however.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 08:09 PM on April 07, 2006

It would appear that umps, refs and the like are untouchable. I agree with everett that players are censored with regard to criticism of officiating and league officials. Sure, showing respect is a must, but if a call is blown, officiating crews should also be required to give post game interviews to answer questions. Of course there is a time and place for criticism, but officials must think that fans are paying to see their "skills". I think for the most part officiating is pretty good, but when a mistake is made and not corrected on the spot, I think that devalues some integrity of the sport involved. This is a sports wide issue that will not be resolved by players necessarily openly criticisizing, but with that and a show from fans, the upper crust league mgmts have an obligation to ensure that "their" best product is presented like the teams are supposed to do.

posted by astrorocket at 08:30 PM on April 07, 2006

chemwizBsquared: Oh man...Shaq, Kobe, Sheed, who cares who insults the refs...why are we talking about this anyways... Where is the link about the Bulls leaping over a falling 76ers club? Where is the link to the MVP race between Nash, Billups, Tony Parker, LeBron and Kobe? Where is the link to the West Race? The Draft? Hell, the Knicks would be a better read... But we get to hear about another overpaid superstar complain about the officiating...sigh... chemwizBsquared if you can find one of those other links, be my guest and post them up. But if you dont like this one, then dont comment on it. Why even go into it ???

posted by STUNNER at 11:22 PM on April 07, 2006

chemwizBsquared if you can find one of those other links, be my guest and post them up. But if you dont like this one, then dont comment on it. Why even go into it ??? Amen

posted by commander cody at 11:36 PM on April 07, 2006

Poor baby.... Where can I send my donation to help him out?

posted by dodgerfansince1964 at 01:03 AM on April 08, 2006

Where is the link about the Bulls leaping over a falling 76ers club? Where is the link to the MVP race between Nash, Billups, Tony Parker, LeBron and Kobe? Where is the link to the West Race? The Draft? Hell, the Knicks would be a better read... But we get to hear about another overpaid superstar complain about the officiating...sigh... In the time you wasted bitching about this FPP, you could have easily posted something about the storylines you mentioned. Instead, you chose to bitch and moan about somebody else who actually posted something they found interesting, and thought maybe the rest of us would find interesting. Well done...you actually made me side with one of the "ten-thousanders."

posted by The_Black_Hand at 06:02 AM on April 08, 2006

I look forward to more stories on ref fines, ejections and DNP-CDs. Bitching about FPPs, while crass, is one way to try to reduce the numbers of shitty links so decent links do get some attention.

posted by yerfatma at 06:45 AM on April 08, 2006

When will people realize the Refs in the NBA and most other professional sports are paid to keep the league interesting. They keep games close by the way they call the game. Sometimes they help the underdog win. Nobody wants to watch a blowout.

posted by Familyman at 07:53 AM on April 08, 2006

Actually I would much rather watch my team beat the shit out of a team like the Knicks than have them lose the game because of some dumbass calls that in your opinion, "are keeping the games interesting and close."

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 08:57 AM on April 08, 2006

i think what familyman was trying to say is that if the games are closer it will keep MORE people interested in the game. obviously, hard core fans of a certain team will watch a game until the end (blowout or otherwise). the final four this season is a good example. by the end of each game, there's a good chance that only fans of the winning team were watching. the rest of us turned the TV off because it was uninteresting (and by then our brackets were shot). ratings=money in tv and since most of pro sports money comes from tv deals, the respective sport will do what it can to keep people watching.

posted by ksb122 at 11:46 AM on April 08, 2006

I admittidly did not see the game in question last. I still feel that a lot of flopping goes because of poor officiating that has gone O'Neals way in the past. How many charging fouls has he gotten away with in the post season? I understand he's 7'4" but he should be called for a foul everytime he drops that shoulder and lays into a defending player.

posted by HATER 187 at 01:09 PM on April 08, 2006

Why is it that any coach or player cannot criticize the bad referees they have in the NBA They like have to have kit gloves on or something or just tiptoe around the issue and if they don't they get fined I just don't understand!

posted by luther70 at 01:24 PM on April 08, 2006

I personally get tired of Shaq whining about calls when he gets away with so much under the boards. They never call him, well rarely call him when he lowers his shoulder and bulls his way into the basket. I just wish I could see him use his size by outjumping opponents rather than acting like a raging bull under the basket.

posted by CaPnKirk at 01:42 PM on April 08, 2006

So wait... It's not against the rules to use your body in the lane if the defender is not set. Just thought I'd let y'all know.

posted by everett at 03:06 PM on April 08, 2006

And it doesn't matter if the defender is set, under the basket.

posted by yerfatma at 03:22 PM on April 08, 2006

we shouldn't be suprised that a player is whining. But why cant the league handle it?

posted by jkdylansdad at 04:58 PM on April 08, 2006

The league is handling it. That is why Shaq has to pay $15,000.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 05:36 PM on April 08, 2006

If the players can criticize the officials in an interview I think the officials should be given equal time to criticize the players on some of the stupid plays that are made and some of the easy shots missed and other assorted bumbling that is seen in just about every game in the NBA. This should be the case in ALL ''sports''. As far as O'Neal is concerned the large oaf should get a job.

posted by joromu at 09:21 PM on April 08, 2006

What do you mean? I though he had a job; I thought he had two jobs...

posted by everett at 09:45 PM on April 08, 2006

I'm not a Shaq fan, but is the NBA the newest Communist regime in the U.S? We all know Shaq is a cry baby, but I didn't realize there were fines associated with that.

posted by pj50 at 10:31 PM on April 08, 2006

As on official, I think I will step into this quagmire. Players are going to think that any close call went against them. It is natural, it is expected. They don't see what is going on (yes, they are involved and may have a general idea, but they do not have the overall picture that the official is supposed to have). They are going to be biased in what they think a call should be. Even the fairest player alive would need to step back from the emotions of the game, get a good look at a replay, and even then, they may or may not agree with any given call. As far as officials trying to make games close. This is an insult on the face of it. These guys are professionals. The cry of "homer" is usually made by a "fan"atic whose faovered team had a close (or not so close) call go against his/her team. Do they make mistakes? Yep, they sure do. And just think about what happened to the last guy who was perfect. I have said before that it would be so utterly obvious if an official was trying to influence a game one way the other, either from the call being made WAAAY to late that it was obvious that they had to see the call, realize which way it was going, calculate if it would be TOO obvious if they made it the other way and then make the call that supported the team that was trailing, or the call would be made prematurely. Again, this would be so obvious that it would be farcical. Yes, officials will give certain players the benefit of the doubt. If a Ted Williams is at bat and lets a pitch go by without so much as thinking about hitting it, an umpire might squeeze a pitcher a bit. Willaims had earned the respect that he KNEW the strike zone. Or, a catcher gets corners tightened up a bit. He can do a lot to keep the dugout off an umpire's back on the close calls that go against his team. In a blow out game will umpires open up the zone? Yep, they do that too. But it is opened up BOTH WAYS. No one really wants a 15-2 blow out to go 3 and a half hours because the pitchers are getting squeezed, and if the losing team's staff has given up 15 runs already, do you think they have their best stuff and can paint the corners well? In summation, an official would get raked over the coals, castrated and then fired if he ever came out and criticized the way that a player performed on the field, or how a game was managed. It is not their job to play or manage, they do not have the expertise to make the criticism. Why should it be any different for a player, coach or manager? When a player or coach has spent dozens of years watching tape, studying and calling god only knows how many different situations; has had a chance to see a replay; and is emotionally distanced from the game in question, then PERHAPS he will be justified in criticizing an official. Until then, if he wants to spout off, then I hope he has deep pockets.

posted by elovrich at 10:55 PM on April 08, 2006

wow...good job. i dont know if its right for the league to fine players though. i dont see what it accomplishes either. a basketball player complaining about a call is pretty common, so people would probably ignore it. fining the guy just gets the media circus started, and then puts refs in the spotlight...

posted by SleepingChicken at 03:01 AM on April 09, 2006

elovrich, I too am a basketball official. I mostly do 6,7,and 8th grade boys and girls. I agree with almost everything you said, yes officials make mistakes, no, I don't think they are really ever trying to influence a game one way or the other, and yes, any close call is going to be contested, either way it gets called. Where I don't agree with you is that the players don't have a right to criticize officials. There are times when a player consistently does not get a call to go his or her way for one reason or another. It happens. Not on purpose, but it still happens. As far as saying that the officials shouldn't be able to criticize the way a player plays? what the fuck? A player has a clear tangible goal, and that is to win. The only person that loses if a player doesn't do his job is the team. It only affects the group that is working together. If an official is failing, it affects everyone else, i.e. the players. Refs are not dependent on the players abilities, or efforts for their continued contracts, progression to and through the post season, or for endorsements. Why would they ever criticize the players?

posted by everett at 04:48 AM on April 09, 2006

everett; As far as saying that the officials shouldn't be able to criticize the way a player plays? what the fuck? I may have been unclear, or you may may have misunderstood. I was referring to comments made IN THE PRESS. Or other ways in which it would be made public. If you were working a varsity High School game, would you think it appropriate to make a comment to the local paper's reporter that you thought the coach had lousy clock management down the stretch? Or would you tell the local radio guy that you thought the star point guard was loafing, but it was understandable because he was recovering from mono? First of all, as a professional, and you are a professional if you get paid for officiating, you should not be talking to the press at all. You are a representative of the league officials, and should address all questions to THEIR media representatives. If you are cleared to talk to the media, as some leagues do with their officials, you should limit your comments to what rules were involved in whatever situation the media are asking you about. Remember, you can't be misquoted if you don't say anything. If you discuss the play on the court with your partner in the locker room after the game, great. If you continue the discussion when you go out for an adult beverage afterwards, I would make sure you know who is in earshot of the conversation. If a memeber of the media asks you what you thought of the coaching. I would politely say, "no comment." This is especially true if you work in a situation where the ADs schedule officials, do you think the coach will want you back if you are bad-mouthing him in the press?

posted by elovrich at 08:06 AM on April 09, 2006

Everett; Rereading your post I have a question for you. Are you ever aware, during a game that you are working, or over a season when you see the same team several times, of a player who never seems to get the call to go his/her way? I don't mean afterwards, when someone mentions to you "hey, did you know every time you blew the whistle for walking, it was number 14", or, "gee, 3 spent a lot of timne on her ass in the paint, and you didnt call a charge on it even once". What I am talking about is during the game, do you ever find yourself thinking, "gosh golly, that 32 has been just crashing the lane all night, and I haven't called a charge, even though the defender has met the hardwood several times. And coach is starting to notice, and little Tony's dad is getting loud about never calling the charge, I better do something about that." I would hope you are concentrating on calling the game so much that you don't even notice these things (well, coaches can be hard to ignore, so you are forgiven if glare over that way once or twice) and call each situation on its own merits, not on who has how many calls. With basketball in particular, and especially at the lower levels, you and your partner make a decision either before the game or in the first few minutes, are we going to call this one loose or tight, if you call it loose, you wilkl hear the "you always let so and so get away with murder" and if you call it tight you get "let the kids play, we didn't come to watch you" Of course, these arguments come from the team that can't adapt to how the game is being called. Well, this post has gotten way longer than I realized ro intended. Perhaps it is time for a column on the philosophy of officiating....

posted by elovrich at 08:19 AM on April 09, 2006

No, I understand completely, and I think that you have all of those points nailed. I couldn't argue if I wanted to. I guess my only point was that as a ref there is really no reason to criticize the players, because my paycheck, my review status, and my own satisfaction with my work at the end of the game is entirely dependent on my own performance, not the players. The players don't have that luxury; they are dependent on the refs... you know? so it makes way more sense that they would be able to have a voice in relation to the way an official is performing.

posted by everett at 02:13 PM on April 09, 2006

I see your point, but my argument against it is this: As a fan of the game, if you weren't an official, would you tend to give a certain amount of weight to the comments of a player regarding the officiating? And if you did, would that weight be justified? That is, are the players in any more of a position to understand what an official is doing well or poorly than a fan watching the game? They do not have the technical qualifications to supervise or critique the performance of an official, so, since the media love that sort of thing, the league has to step in and try to keep it in check, thus the fines for players, coaches and owners who sound off about things that they truly may not have enough knowledge of to make an informed opinion. I do not think it is so much an effort to keep officials from being justifiably criticized, as it is to shield them from unwarranted criticism. That being said, I think that the criticisms and fines and such that officials DO receive from the respective leagues should be more transparent to the public, as the officials ARE part of the game and we as fans have the right to know what they are doing well or poorly.

posted by elovrich at 04:22 PM on April 09, 2006

There you go again with your, "players don't know anything about the rules." Besides, a players understanding of the rules doesn't have to be exhaustive to know what a charge is. I can't wait for the day when robots officiate sports.

posted by tron7 at 06:38 PM on April 09, 2006

tron, My comments had not so much to do with knowledge of the rules, and more to do with mechanics of officiating, balancing the flow of the game, and particularly at the professional level, knowing when to make a 'non-call'. If every travel, palmed ball, charge, and shooting foul were called in the NBA, or if every hold were called in the NFL, the flow of the game would be completely destroyed and the officials would get called out for showboating and being to ticky-tack, and not letting the players play. It is usually, but obviously not always, these non-calls that are what the players complain about to the media. Or the player who IS called for a charge that obviously got him an advantage, or the player who WAS called for holding, or the defenseman who was called for cross-checking.... These are the situations where the players really do not have an understanding of what is involved, and that is not a criticism, I would not expect them to, any more than I would expect an official to know the in-depth advantages to any particular defensive lineup. It is not the players job to know the mechanics of officiating, but because they are professionals in the sport, if they comment about it the media reports it and the average fan supposes that they know what they are talking about. If a reporter wrote in the New York Times that a world-famous Doctor predicted that there would be an outbreak of flu attributable to zoo animals on Mulberry Street, and that many people would die from this flu, you might be concerned, afterall, it was a doctor who said this, and the Times covered it so it must be accurate. That is until I tell you that the famous Doctor is Ted Geissel, or more popularly Dr. Seuss. But when a player makes comments about an official, the average fan does not think about the fact that the player is not qualified to judge how an official is doing their job. They just see So-and-so, starting bench jockey for the Gotham City Nick-of-Times. As for robots officiating sports, well, if you don't mind terribly long, non-flowing games where each and every little violation of the rules is called, regardless of whether an advantage was gained or not, hey, I know lots of living flesh and blood officials who are quite capable of calling a game just like that...you don't need robots, just fans and players who will shut the hell up about how the stripes are trying to take over the game

posted by elovrich at 09:15 PM on April 09, 2006

So are you saying Shaq is Dr. Seuss? Wouldn't Shaq have to be an official(Doctor) to be Dr. Seuss though? If you want to say that players have a bias and therefore see things there way more often, Im fine with that. If you want to talk about non-calls or balancing the flow of the game, I'm fine with that too. The statements that players have little to no grasp of the rules of a sport they have been playing for years, I find ridiculous. Players more than likely don't know the rules as well as the officials, but you don't need to know the entire rulebook to critique one call. I realize it wasn't your main point but your, "players have no understanding of the rules" schtick seeps into your comments where the officials are involved. I'm fine with the NBA giving Shaq the fine. The league has made it pretty clear that it won't tolerate official bashing. Shaq should have kept it out of the media. However, I would like to see some sort of system where officials could be criticized. Someday there will be robots that will have a dial on them which will determine how tightly they call the game.

posted by tron7 at 12:26 AM on April 10, 2006

tron; in this instance, the knowledge of the rules is secondary, it is the knowledge of knowing how to officiate, what to watch for, positioning, managing game flow, when to tighten up and when to let the players play... These are the things that players do not, in general, have a grasp of. I do not intend to say that players do not have a general grasp of the rules of the game that they play, although rulebooks include casebook material, where specific rulings are made that modify the general rule. It is often this casebook material that players do not know, or do not know very well, unless they have taken the time to actually read and study the rule book. You said in other posts that you played at the Felch Tourney. So I assume you have played baseball, and probably other sports, for many years. Have you ever studied the rulebooks? This is not a smart-assed question, or one that is meant to call you out. I know that when I played football I had a good general understanding of the rules of the game, but until I officiated it, I had never actually read the rulebook. Players tend to learn the rules from their teammates and their coaches, or even worse, from announcers, when they are growing up. This is fine for the most part, but there are many generalities that people swear are "what is in the rule book" that are passed from one generation of player to the next. It may be that it was once in the book and has been changed or altered, or it may be that it was never in the book at all. A prime example of this, from baseball, is the "rule" that a tie goes to the runner. First off, it is almost impossible for there to actually BE a tie, something happened first, either the runner got to the bag, or the fielder got possesion of the ball while in contact with the base. However, in the one-in-a-million chance that both things happened exactly simultainously, the rule book actually states "Rule 7.08 Any runner is out when... (e) He fails to reach the next base before a fielder tags him or the base, after he has been forced to advance by reason of the batter becoming a runner." This clearly states that the runner hase to touch the base BEFORE the fielder does, which, by extension, means that if he fails to, in other words, if there is a "tie" then the runner is out. So, even though generations of players have been taught that a tie goes to the runner, it is, in fact, just the opposite, and a tie goes to the fielder. Players MIGHT crack a rulebook when there is a call that they thought they knew the ruling on and it is called another way, but I would venture that in those cases they are looking to prove their point rather to learn the true ruling. For instance, a defender legally gets positon between a dribbler and the basket, facing the dribbler, while the dribbler is in motion. The defender never gets "set" but rather backpedals, at a rate slower than the dribbler is advancing. When contact is made, the defender is knocked off of his feet. Charge, block or no-call? Many players at virtually any level, will say that since the defender was not "set" that it would be a block. They were taught growing up that, as a defender they had to get set to receive a charge. The rule is excerpeted and can be found here... 2. Guarding an Opponent In all guarding situations, a player is entitled to any spot on the court he desires, provided he legally gets to that spot first and without contact with an opponent....A player may continue to move after gaining a guarding position in the path of an opponent provided he is not moving directly or obliquely toward his opponent when contact occurs. As for our futuristic robots, will the "tightness" button be adjusted during the game? Who will decide how tight to set the robot or if to change it at all? And how will the robot be programmed to interpret "judgement" calls. Especially in basketball, where just because contact occured, it may not necessarily be a foul, but rather an advantage had to be created.

posted by elovrich at 03:03 AM on April 10, 2006

Yeah, I have read the baseball rulebook(AL Rules) completely through once and a bunch of other times when looking for a specific ruling. I find it alot easier to read if your looking for a specific situation. And it's not like I get paid to play the sport either or I'm around baseball for 162 games or anything, I'm just curious. Does a bad call cease to be a bad call if the guy criticizing it hasn't read a rulebook? What are you trying to prove by pointing out these misconceptions? The tightness knob is controlled by various factors including but not limited too: other appointments that the robot has that day, how bored the robot is, and if the robot's dinner is getting cold.

posted by tron7 at 01:49 PM on April 10, 2006

Nope, a bad call is a bad call, even if it is in the forest and no one is around to hear it. But, even someone who has no idea about the rules will get a complaint right every now and then, kind of like a blind squirrel and a nut. The point I guess I am trying to make is that players are given a certain amount of credibility when they complain about officials, even if that credibility is not deserved. Fans read or hear the criticism and think, hmm, that official has no clue about what he is doing, when in fact it may be the player who has no clue in that particular situation, and should have just kept quiet to begin with. Since trying to get someone who is emotionally and/or financially invested in something like that to keep quiet by simply asking them most likely would not work, the league decides to step in and fine players, managers, owners, etc. for criticising officials in the media (which is, I believe, where this whole thing started.) Couldn't help but smile about the robot either, since I know I myself have opened a strike zone so wide hitters would need a canoe paddle to reach the outside corner if I happened to have a hot date after the game.....(hmmm, now you have to stop and wonder if I am being sarcastic and enjoying the fun banter or if I am being serious....best bet, if you come up to play in Felch, find out if it is me behind the plate and whether or not I have a date that night)

posted by elovrich at 06:50 PM on April 10, 2006

elovrich, I am a high school soccer player and I know the rule book from back to front. I feel that if I know it, I can understand the officials calls better. It has the added plus of knowing when you are being refed by a complete moron. I think that it is good to read the rulebook, in other words.

posted by Goyoucolts at 06:13 PM on April 11, 2006

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