NBA Refs Face Lockout–Will We Notice the Difference?

CHICAGO – NBA referees let the league know what they thought of the latest contract offer when they voted 57-0 against it at their meeting in the Windy City Wednesday night. nba-ref1

That vote led to further discussions but after those hit a brick wall, the referees were sent home and both sides went to impasse.

NBA referees being sent home. What an awesome concept! How many times have we fantasized about that.

If this group of zebras are sent packing during the start of the season would we even notice the difference?

NBA refs have become notorious for calling fouls on anyone who gets within arm’s length of stars like Dwyane Wade and LeBron James and they appear willing to extend their summer to fight for their cause.

OK, the term ‘arm’s length’ is an exaggeration, well sort of; depends what tape or highlight reel you choose to look at and fighting for a cause is usually a strong, admirable characteristic depends on the details.

It appears the major disagreement stems around some retirement issues. I guess ex-referee and whistle-blower Tim Donaghy’s living conditions in jail are not quite up to par with the union’s idea of retirement. Donaghy is in jail where he belongs after fixing several NBA games over a several year period.

The performance of the zebras in all major sports have caused fans and media to scream “Fix!” but none as often as the NBA who many times end up with playoff match-ups that supply the best ratings.

After NFL referee Ed Hochuli blew a call in the final seconds of a game last year, he ‘manned up’ and admitted he made a mistake. When highlight reels are burning up the airways with questionable NBA calls that determine a crucial game’s outcome, the league’s officials and refs normally go about their business and withhold comments or admissions of any kind.

This same group of officials are certainly speaking out loud and clear now though; with that lopsided vote of 57-0.

Lead union negotiator Lamell McMorris sounded pessimistic concerning any quick resolution. “It looks like a lockout is both imminent and unavoidable,” McMorris said. “We have suspended dialogue again today. We’ve been in constant communication, but it’s not going to happen.” The union also presented a memo showing how statistically the number of fines and suspensions did increase the last time fill-in refs were used. 

“I am not optimistic,” lead NBA negotiator Rich Buchanan added.

A lockout appears likely at this point but how bad would the league and fans actually suffer with fill-in referees in NBA games? Would the quality of the officiating suffer or even be noticeable?

Before you answer, check out a last-minute Lebron gift granted by the referees, ponder it over a last-minute freebie handed to Dywane Wade then make your decision.

Other Stories:

NBA Refs Demonstrate Why a Lock-out Could Be Disastrous

NBA Ref Donaghy Indicted

NFL Ref Hochuli Admits Blowing Call Late in Game

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