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What’s up with NBA refs?

Edward Bass, Staffer

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Tensions between NBA players and referees are at an all time high currently. Historically, conflict between the two parties has been present in every season. Whatever the problem is, most get solved through the cooperation and diligence of the league. However, the issue of technical fouls and ejections being handed out by referees has escalated this relationship to a boiling point.

It is not that referees are handing out an absurd number of technical fouls and ejections, as this year’s season is on pace for an average number. It is the amount being handed out to high-profile players, such as Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Lebron James, who was ejected for the first time in his 15 year career this season.

According to Carmelo Anthony, an Oklahoma City Thunder player, much of the frustration arises from how quickly refs have resorted to calling techs or ejections, a drastic shift from prior years. Although the physical fights that have occurred between players sometimes get dismissed, most of the time, they warrant a technical and/or an ejection.

“Now, the trigger is too quick,” Anthony told ESPN just over a week ago. “You look at somebody wrong, you get a technical foul. You say one wrong thing, you get a technical foul.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has spoken on the problem, and it seems he has seen no swing in the nature of technical fouls and ejections this year.

“I’m listening to the players’ complaints, and I’m also listening to the referees’ complaints,” Silver said to SBnation. “And I’d say although it seems to be getting a fair amount of attention, we’ve looked back at the data from over the years, and there haven’t been a greater number of ejections or a greater number of technicals.”

It seems like a much smaller deal then most are making it out to be. Technical fouls and ejections are part of the game. Player have to deal with them, but the ongoing tension has caused some serious problems between referees and players.

“I’m done with them, I’m done with the refs. No disrespect, but I’m done with those guys,” Anthony said earlier this season in an interview with ESPN, after his teammate Russell Westbrook was ejected.

If player and referee tension continues to rise, future approval ratings of the league could drop. It may not be likely, but some form of strike could occur if things continue to get out of hand. However, many people are working hard behind the scenes to help referees handle the on-court situations better. For the players, communication between referees could resolve this problem easily, but only time will tell how this situation plays out.

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What’s up with NBA refs?