The NBA levied a $30,000 fine against Toronto Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet on Thursday following his postgame criticism of referee Ben Taylor and other NBA refs the night before.
Speaking after the Raptors’ 108-100 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, VanVleet launched into an explicit tirade with full awareness of the resulting fine.
“I don’t mind, I’ll take a fine. I don’t really care,” he said Wednesday night. “I thought Ben Taylor was f---ing terrible tonight. I think that on most nights, you know out of the three [officials], there’s one or two that just f--- the game up. It’s been like that a couple of games in a row.”
ValVleet picked up his eighth technical of the season midway through the third quarter. Three of those technicals have now come at the hands of Taylor.
“You come out tonight, competing pretty hard and I get a bulls--- tech that changes the whole dynamic of the game, changed the flow of the game,” VanVleet said.
Criticism of officiating is hardly a new thing, but VanVleet’s decision to call out Taylor by name certainly created some headlines. Taylor is in his 10th season with the NBA.
“Most of the refs are trying hard. I like a lot of the refs, they’re trying hard, they’re pretty fair and communicate well,” VanVleet added. “And then you got the other ones who just want to be a d--- and just kind of f---s the game up. … No one’s coming to see that s---. They come to see the players.”
VanVleet told reporters in Toronto on Thursday that he was “speaking for a lot of guys” and that “a lot of people feel that way.”
“Hopefully going forward we see some change for the better, the betterment of the game,” he said.
“You live and you learn and you move on. [The comments] came out authentic, it came out in real time,” he added. “I wouldn’t have done that if I felt like I had another option or outlet. I felt like I’ve exhausted my options this season, many different occasions. It is just one of those things, I am human.
“You will see me make mistakes in real time and make things that are not always perfect. A little unprofessional for my standard, so it was unfortunate.”
On Thursday, Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart was asked about officiating. Avoiding a fine himself, Smart opted to refer to VanVleet’s comments hours before.
"I don't know if you saw Fred VanVleet's interview," Smart told reporters. "That is all I am going to say. Obviously, it let's you know that I am not speaking out of my butt and I am not the only one that feels that way. I am going to let Fred do all the talking."