Two interesting quotes from established NBA players concerning the lockout of the NBA officials. After the jump, see what Jason Kidd and Derek Fisher had to say about the situation.
Let's start with Kidd. Here's his quote from The Dallas Morning News:
"Some guys will have the opinion that replacement officials are just as good as the old officials. One way to look at it is it'll be a fairer playing field for everybody because nobody will have an advantage. The officials will call what they see. I think veteran clubs will have the advantage just to keep your composure, play the game the right way and if the whistle is blown, it's a foul and you move on."And here's what Derek Fisher had to say about the situation, according to an AP report:
"Players throughout the league are concerned that the use of replacement referees could compromise the integrity of our games."
OK, I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of a union, but I do understand the fierce loyalty to unions in general certain members live by. That being said, how can you read that quote from Fisher without laughing? The integrity of our games? What integrity? We're two years removed from the biggest scandal in the history of officiating. Since then we've had the Joey Crawford incident (watch the video, then we'll continue).
We have superstars talking to the press about personal vendettas referees have against them. A clear bias favoring the NBA's chosen superstars. Honestly, the officiating makes it hard to be an NBA fan, even harder to defend your loyalty to the sport to the casual fan. I know people who have equated the NBA to the WWE, and they weren't being hyperbolic. Don't get me wrong, the NBA has its fair share of quality officials, but a few bad apples can taint the whole bunch. The league never did anything to re-establish the trust fans and players need to have in officials after the Donaghy fiasco.
I don't want to see sloppily officiated games, but I do firmly believe this is a chance for the NBA to clean house, something they should've done immediately after one of their refs was sent to the Big House for fixing games. If/when this lockout is resolved, there needs to be a new code of conduct for the refs, a consistent interpretation of the rules, and the worst of the bunch need to be let go.