(The Cavalier is on an extended leave of absence due to excessive laughing. The following was not written by him, although he’s pretty sure you knew that.)
Joey Crawford doesn’t want to ref in a league where he can’t throw out superstars for laughing.
As you probably know by now, veteran referee Joey Crawford was suspended for the rest of the regular season and the entire 7 month playoff run.
At first it sounded a bit harsh, but the regular season had only two more days and not being around for last night’s Indiana-Atlanta grudge match or tonight’s New York-Charlotte extravaganza isn’t exactly much of a punishment.
Crawford simply had to be suspended for the entire postseason. The NBA always has problems (perceived or otherwise) with the refs during the playoffs and at the very least they would’ve had to schedule Crawford with non-Spur games. But from the way Stern has been talking (on PTI and in press releases), this wasn’t a one time deal:
“Especially in light of similar prior acts by this official, a significant suspension is warranted,” Stern said in a statement. “Although Joey is consistently rated as one of our top referees, he must be held accountable for his actions on the floor, and we will have further discussions with him following the season to be sure he understands his responsibilities.”
If this was a one time incident, the postseason ban might’ve been a bit excessive. But with ‘similar prior acts’ plus all the NBA ref conspiracy theories this time of year, Stern had to come down hard.
But, for his part, Crawford says he wasn’t wrong and he’d do it again:
“I told him I would throw Duncan out again if he did what he did,” Crawford wrote. “So if my employer does not think that was acceptable, then I have a problem.”
Awesome. It looks like Crawford is calling it a career because he got disciplined for throwing out Tim Duncan for laughing. Makes complete sense.
But that’s not all Joey left us. Oh no, he also gave us this nugget of awesome (insider):
Crawford also blasted fellow referee Dick Bavetta in the e-mail obtained by ESPN.com, hinting at divisions among referees between those who do and don’t support Bavetta and writing that maybe Bavetta will wind up as the crew chief in Game 7 of the NBA “which is a travesty in itself you even being in the finals.”
Can you possibly imagine how pissed off David Stern is right now? Not only is he dealing with a crazy referee fallout before the playoffs even begin but, on his way out the door, the ref throws out a “Dick Bavetta-Game 7-travesty” bomb. Stern must be extremely pleased.
This, of course, just heightens the excitement and anticipation for the playoffs. I can’t wait to see what happens to Dallas (will anything weird happen? Will they get a ton of free passes?) and I’m already salivating at the prospect of a Wade vs LeBron free throw battle (will they each get 20 a game? 25? Who knows?).
I can’t wait.