Tuesday, April 17, 2007

T'd Out

A short post today; I’ve done precious little in the way of baseball-watching lately, which hopefully will change soon. I did want to take a moment to comment on the saga of Joey Crawford. He's the NBA ref who recently ejected Tim Duncan for laughing on the bench, and is now suspended for at least the rest of the season (and, according to this pay-only Marc Stein ESPN report, may be gone for good).

Aside from finding it a bit funny, I can't figure out exactly how to feel here. The ejection was absurd, no doubt. And Crawford isn't helping his cause after the fact, either. But I'm having a hard time getting from there to "this guy should lose his job."

NBA officiating has a serious image problem, no doubt. David Stern is obviously making an example out of Crawford. But I think this hurts more than it helps. The attention paid to the officials in the playoffs will be suffocating (especially if Wade starts taking more trips to the line than the entire other team again). But then on the other hand, this also makes it seem like the NBA takes seriously its commitment to good officiating.

At least, kind of. I mean, this was a pretty meaningless end-of-season contest we're talking about here. The ejection didn't cost the Spurs much of anything. And I get the sense that this is a strange issue to hold up as an example of NBA officiating. There are so many other instances of bad officiating (that actually meaningfully affected important games) that this seems minor.

Firing Crawford doesn't fix the NBA's officiating problem, and I'm worried that instead of casting light on the issue this will only serve to muddy the waters.

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