Adam Silver Says NBA ‘Doesn’t Publicize’ Punishment for Referees for Missed Calls
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The 2022-23 NBA season has had multiple high-profile games affected by officiating mistakes, and there never appears to be any discipline for the referees at fault.
However, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver disputed that notion on Thursday during an appearance on SportsCenter, saying officials are “absolutely held accountable” despite the public not being aware of their punishments:
“We don’t publicize discipline for officials. We don’t think that will be appropriate. But their assignments are affected by the quality of their calls, whether or not they progress into the playoffs and then round by round is impacted by the accuracy of their calls and their demeanor on the floor. So there is a system for overseeing and making those judgements about officials. But more to your earlier point about getting the calls right, that’s again not a new issue.”
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, who became the league’s all-time leading scorer last week, has been on the end of some questionable calls this season. Most notably, the referees issued an apology on Twitter for missing a late foul call in what ended up being an overtime loss to the Boston Celtics on Jan. 28.
In that instance, the referees were unable to adjust the call to amend the initial mistake. Silver acknowledged that is also a problem that is tough for the league to figure out a way to address:
“I know some people in that particular call you mentioned in that Celtics-Lakers game were upset that there was no opportunity for replay. Many people focused on the coach not having another challenge. But remember in our league, you can’t challenge a non-call. And there’s a lot of difficulty there when you get into non-call. You could suggest every moment of a game is a non-call when a call isn’t being made in a way.
“But so what’s the beginning and the end of the play? And if indeed the officials missed the foul but then the other team is saying, well, go back 15 seconds, they missed something else there, it’s not an easy issue, but it’s something we’re going to look at because my personal view is I don’t mind the challenge system but also think the ultimate goal is to get it right, not put the pressure on the coach in terms of that additional tactic on using their challenge appropriately.”
The NBA begins its All-Star break this weekend, so perhaps the league will have some time to figure out some solutions to these officiating issues for next season.