Home > Uncategorized > David Stern and Phil Jackson in a pissing contest…

David Stern and Phil Jackson in a pissing contest…

Daivd Stern doesn’t like NBA coaches criticizing his officials. Phil Jackson loves criticizing NBA refs. Well, you can see where this is going can’t you?

Stern:

I wish I had it to do all over again and, starting 20 years ago, I’d be suspending Phil and Pat Riley for all the games they play in the media,” Stern said in a press conference at the Ford Center moments before Game 3 of the Lakers-Thunder series. “You guys know that our referees go out there and knock themselves out to do the best job they can, but we’ve got coaches who will do whatever takes to work them publicly. And what that does is erode fan confidence and then you get some of the situations that we have.

Uhmmm… really? I think that scandals in which one of your referees is arrested by the FBI for betting on games erodes fan confidence, but maybe that’s just me.

Jackson:

I think when you start throwing one- and two-game suspensions in the threats, I think that means a lot to both ball clubs and coaches,” Jackson said at Lakers practice. “It seems awful heavy-handed to me, but David is one who isn’t shy about being heavy-handed.

Yup, David has long wielded a big iron fist and it seems to be getting harder. I don’t think that there can be any debate that Stern is one of the greatest commissioners in Sport’s history, but he’s been on the beat for over 25 years. It may be sacrilegious to say of a man who is often described as the smartest in every room he enters, but over the last couple of years, I’ve begun to wonder whether Stern’s best days have past him by. He seems to increasingly lead by bullying and on the issue of refereeing, he’s spraying blame like a blind skunk, while failing to grasp the subtlties of the issue.

If you think the job of an NBA ref is easy, you are a moron. These are giant, freaks of nature out there, playing the game at a pace that you and I on our couch cannot even dream of. To determine whether someone has managed to get all ball, or clipped the wrist, is really easy when you’re watching on TV and someone slows it down for you, but at full speed? With a six-ten, 245 pound monster in front of you? And bodies flying everywhere? That’s freaking hard.

Having said that, NBA officials over the last decade haven’t really done themselves any favors. They’ve had some incredibly brutal days at the office. Bill Simmons, of course, has made a career knocking the officiating of games and he’s hardly alone. Each of the big sports has their own problems with officiating, but the NBA’s are so much more pronounced. In part that’s the legacy of Tim Donaghy, but it’s also because of the NBA’s long history of “star treatment.” Worse, is the growing belief that Stern selects certain refs to ensure favorable outcomes in games and the idea that crowds in hostile arenas can affect calls. Instead of accurately addressing these issues, whenever somebody has the temerity to question his refs Stern just huffs and puffs.

One day, some enterprising young commish is going to realise that to really engender confidence in referees, you have to make them accountable to your audience. I don’t mean releasing them to the wolves, but having them answer questions from a small media contingent would go a long way towards establishing fan confidence in the jobs of referees. We understand that refs are human, well at least those of us with any sort of brain, and that they will make mistakes, but sometimes it would help to hear a referee say, “I made a mistake there. My angle was bad…” Or, it would help to hear their explanations for why they made a call one way over another.

I know, it’s a novel idea, but allowing some – again limited – access to referees would allow fans to consider their mistakes in a human context, rather than a robotic one. More importantly, it removes them from behind the protective iron curtain and creates the appearance of accountability. It might – and I repeat might – even have the affect of making refs more aware and, thus, making them work harder to improve their craft.

Anyhow, back to Jackson and Stern…

Jackson also wanted to clear up his brief meeting with Stern prior to Game 3 at the Ford Center. Stern described it as, “I just came by and said, ‘Hi,’ and he said, ‘I don’t like you today,’ and I said, ‘I like you.'”

We ran into each other in the hallway … I did not say I didn’t like him. I said, ‘I’m not happy with you,’ is what I said and he said, ‘I’m happy with you,'” Jackson explained. “He misquoted the exchange.

Alright boys, calm down. No need to squabble, just whip them out and lets see who can shoot the farthest…

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