Monday, May 11

Flagrant Fouls Prove NBA Cares... About Image

Ron Artest's foul on Pau Gasol was reduced from a Flagrant-2 foul to a Flagrant-1 after review by the NBA's VP of Basketball Operations Stu Jackson. The initial call of Flagrant-2 would not, in my opinion, have been made if the game had been closer, but with an eight point lead in the final minute, the refs and league wanted to make certain things didn't get uglier. If the league were to downgrade the foul to just a foul, they would be saying the refs were completely out of line in ejecting Artest and they don't want their officials feeling threatened.

It's the same reason why the league saw fit to consider Rondo's face grab on Brad Miller "incidental." The refs decided not to call a flagrant, as that would've allowed someone else to step in for Miller at the free throw line. Had the NBA upgraded the foul, the league would've acknowledged that the Bulls should've had that option as a woozy Brad Miller stopped the bleeding. When Miller missed a free throw, any chance of the foul being upgraded disappeared as well. The NBA is so paranoid about the perception that the refs influence the outcome of a game (thanks Timmy) that they're painting themselves in a corner where the rulings seem more on par with the officiating of professional wrestling.

It's this image-first mentality that has everyone wondering what constitutes a flagrant foul. Rajon Rondo isn't facing a suspension with another Flagrant-1 as he should be, but Ron Artest has been ejected twice. Once for being upset that at Kobe Bryant's Flagrant-1 (determined after review) against him (while the officials on the floor called a foul on him) and for committing a Flagrant-1 (after review). The NBA needs to look at these plays in a bubble, with no regard for the outcome or situation, because it's clear that they're overly conscious of protecting their officials and not making a change to a call that might have had an influence on the outcome of the game. As long as they judge fouls based on these external factors it will continue to hurt the product on the court and frustrate, coaches, players and fans alike.

1 comment:

Gerakis100 said...

Great Post Guys... Stern and Stu Jackson are really losing control and dignity with their post-game decisions.