Refs: What are they good for?

Let’s give them a break

In recent sports history, officials have been on the wrong side of controversy. There were the NFL replacement refs in 2012, the NBA betting scandal of 2007 and recently the blown call in the NFC championship game that cost the New Orleans Saints a trip to the Super Bowl.

Just this weekend, the NBA community criticized the officiating in game one of the Western Conference semifinal matchup between the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors.

The league and the officials admitted that there were missed calls that led to the Warriors winning the game.

With just over a minute left in the game, the referees missed a foul on James Harden that would have led to Stephen Curry fouling out of the game. Curry would go on to hit the game-clinching 3-pointer with 25 seconds remaining.

The league also admitted that the officials missed a traveling call on Klay Thompson in the final minute of play.  

Additionally, there were no-calls scattered throughout the game that could have been called. On several jump shots, Harden fell down without a place to land.

Professional sports in America have been changing constantly over the last decade, and the rulebooks have had trouble adjusting.  

In the NFL, we’ve seeing rule changes made to regulate pass interference, targeting, defenseless receiver and roughing the quarterback calls.

The NBA has changed just as much, if not more. Recently, we’ve seen rule changes to clear path fouls and shooting fouls. Shooters must have a place to land when they come down from a jump shot.

This has led to players kicking their legs out on jump shots in an effort to draw more fouls. To account for that, officials are allowed to call offensive fouls on shooters who make contact with defenders in an unnatural way.  

This rule isn’t heavily enforced, and Harden is one of the more notorious abusers.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t like the way Harden plays. I’m not one of the old timers who is stuck in the times of hard-nosed, pound-the-paint basketball, but his playing style bothers me.

Harden is known for getting to the free throw line by any means necessary. He led the NBA last season with 11 free throw attempts per game.

The no-calls in game one probably would have been called during the regular season, which is why the officiating of the game is being so heavily criticized.  

The officials are in the wrong here, mostly because their officiating during the regular season and this game don’t line up.

I’m going to forgive the officiating in that game because I know being a referee is difficult as it is, and being an objective referee is impossible.  

They’re asked to watch 10 people on the court and look for a long list of possible violations. Furthermore, they’re expected to make calls that are made in the regular season that might not even be true fouls based on the NBA rulebook.

All officiating is subjective, and that’s just part of the game. In baseball, every umpire has a different strike zone. In the NFL, NHL and NBA, some referees are more likely to call certain violations. Adjusting to the officiating is just part of the game, and you have to move on.

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