Referees Are Ruining NBA


Photo by themikelee, Creative Commons

Three referees officiating at Madison Square Garden.

Christian Jones, Staff writer

When there are questionable calls that need to be put in a play we could always rely on referees to check the plays. But what happens if the refs start to abuse their power? And if they do that, what punishment would the referee receive?

Referees over the past few years have started to abuse their power more than in previous years. This not only has had big impacts, it has even changed the course of entire games.

For example In the 2018-2019 season, there were 72 ejections in the season with the most notable ones being Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler ,and Demar Derozan.

According to Spotrac, NBA referees have been ejecting more players in the 2020-2021 season than in the 2019-2020 season with there being 44 ejections in the 2019-2020 season and 52 ejections in the 2020-2021 season.

When ejections happen, it can alter entire games by getting rid of core players to a certain team, which then gives the opposing team an advantage.

To me, this shows how refs have been abusing their power last NBA season than any other. I think to counter this the NBA needs to have more experienced and vetrenized referees. The NBA also must start banning and firing referees from games if they start to abuse their power.

Not only have referees been giving bogus calls for the past few years they have been more prone to corruption as well. For example, in 2007 there was an NBA betting scandal which included  referee Tim Donaghy, who fixed multiple NBA games that he was officiating since 2005. Not only was Donaghy fixing games, he also had ties to criminal organizations.

In response to potential corruption, the league should put more punishments on referee’s .

Instances where the referees should have gotten more punishment was during the 2021 season when J.J. Redick rolled the ball down to the ref and he got ejected for no reason. 

Another perfect example came during the 2007 NBA playoffs when the Spurs went up against the Mavericks in the Conference Finals. During the game referee Joey Crawford ejected Tim Duncan for laughing on the bench. Crawford even attempted to fight Duncan after the game for the play. This shows how referees have gotten more soft and giving out bogus calls.

Now many people are saying that the 2020-2021 season had seen the worst of referees abusing their power, but the amount of ejections last year have been on par with the last five years, implying that this has been a recurring issue for a while. 

People don’t talk about other seasons because there were more games than the 2020-21 season. There were 978 fines and suspensions in the 2020-2021 season and 52 ejections with the most notable ones being Devin Booker, Donovan Mitchell and Ja Morant.

In short, the NBA needs to start banning and firing the referees when they start to abuse their power, and if they don’t it could be a detriment to the NBA as a whole.