On January 28, the Los Angeles Lakers visited the Boston Celtics for their second and final matchup of the regular season. The superstar-studded showdown went down to the wire. After Jaylen Brown tied the game at 105 due to an and-one free throw, the Lakers had possession with 4.1 seconds left in regulation.
Lebron James drove the ball into the paint and went up for a layup but was hit on the arm by Jayson Tatum. The refs, however, did not make the call. Lebron got so emotional about the non-call he went to his knees in frustration but soon gathered himself for overtime.
The Celtics won in OT 125-121. After the game, the non-call at the end of regulation was a hot topic. Many fans voiced their complaints on social media, pointing out it was another egregious example in a long line of poor officiating. Even Celtics fans agreed it was a terrible mess.
Recently, NBA commissioner Adam Silver spoke on ESPN’s Sportscenter in an interview with Sage Steele, where he answered the calls from fans for officials to be held accountable for their mistakes.
He said that while the NBA does not publicize the punishments against officials, “their assignments are affected by the quality of their calls, whether or not they progress into the playoffs and then round by round is impacted by the accuracy of their calls and their demeanor on the floor. So there is a system for overseeing and making those judgments about officials.”
Silver went on to talk about the NBA is considering adding a way for end-of-regulation plays to be reviewed despite coaches’ inability to challenge non-calls.
Adam Silver fully acknowledging these issues with officials and being informative about what the NBA plans to do to amend the problems is exactly why he’s one of the most respected professional sports league commissioners.
Compare this response from Silver with one of Roger Goodell’s, the commissioner of the NFL. In an interview before Super Bowl LVII, Goodell said the state of NFL officiating has “never been better.” This was after a season of ceaseless controversy surrounding NFL on-field rules and officiating.
The NFL put an emphasis on roughing-the-passer penalties in the 2022’s offseason. The result was calls against defensive players for minute details regarding their tackling, mostly things out of the player’s control.
And, of course, the season ended with more controversy after a ticky-tack holding penalty went against the Eagles’ James Bradberry in the Super Bowl. But sure, Goodell, NFL officiating is the best it’s ever been.
Silver’s transparency with the media and the fans is admirable. He’s acknowledging the issues the fans are complaining about while discussing possible fixes and being open about how the NBA holds officials accountable. None of this solves the issue, but this interview perfectly shows why he’s so respected.
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