The consequence of a bad call – what happened to Crawford after the Duncan ejection

The consequence of a bad call – what happened to Crawford after the Duncan ejection

Dame Lillard lost his mind the other night when the refs missed an obvious call that cost the Blazers the game. He didn’t stop after the game, and when warned he will probably get fined he responded with “got enough money.” But, Lillard got away without a fine – another proof of player empowerment. No way he would’ve gotten away with it if David Stern was the commish.

But, the question is what will be the consequence for the refs? Stern may have been harsher with the players, but he was the same with the refs. Everyone remembers Joey Crawford ejecting Tim Duncan for laughing on the bench. In a bizarre sequence, Crawford decided Duncan’s smile was disrespectful and threw Timmy out. 

What happened afterward is less known, but equally important. Stern fined Crawford $100k and suspended him for the rest of the season. That decision stopped Crawford’s streak at 21 straight Finals appearances as a ref. Stern didn’t just bench any judge, Crawford was at the top of the pyramid. 

Stern didn’t stop there. He told Crawford he wouldn’t reinstate him if he didn’t get professional help. He was activated for the following ’07/’08 season only after meeting with Stern and convincing him he has changed. The change involved regular therapy sessions.

“The Duncan thing probably changed my life. It was just—you come to the realization that maybe the way you’ve been doing things is not the proper way and you have to regroup, not only on the court but off the court. I had seen a sports psychologist before that. But after, I saw him a lot more. […] It gave me a new perspective.” 

Joey Crawford, NY Times

Crawford’s situation isn’t comparable to the mistake the refs made the other night in the Portland game. He had a temper and character issues that started to create problems on the court. But, they do raise a point that there are different kinds of mistakes. It’s OK if you miss a close call. But severe, obvious mistakes should be met with equal consequences.

Not to mention, there’s no point in investing millions in a replay center if you can’t overturn such a crucial, obvious mistake. In the end, a person has to make a decision. David Stern did. Will Adam Silver start?