Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Dejounte Murray on what led up to bumping referee, suspension: ‘A lot’

Philadelphia 76ers v Atlanta Hawks

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 7: Dejounte Murray #5 of the Atlanta Hawks looks on during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on April 7, 2023 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

Ask players what frustrates them most about NBA referees and it’s not the missed calls (although that has its moments). Instead at the top of the list of complaints is the lack of ability to have a conversation about those calls, those decisions. A younger generation of officials appears to have been trained not to discuss calls or have a dialogue with players, and while the players can add to that tension with a lack of respect at points, many want to have a rational conversation and feel they get a “talk to the hand” moment instead.

Keep that in mind as you read what the Hawks’ Dejonte Murray said about what led up to his Game 5 suspension after bumping into official Gediminas Petraitis and yelling at him.

“It was a lot that led up to it. A lot. You know, a lot of ignoring, a lot of brushing me off, brushing my teammates off, just asking questions of how we could be better. And even just with that, you know, this individual goes back to San Antonio [Murray’s previous team] where, I don’t know why that person treated me the way he treated me over the years...

“I’m just a guy that likes to have conversations, especially with the referees. You ask 98% of the refs why they greet me before games, they’ll tell you because I’m one of the most respectful ones. I don’t cry about calls, I don’t disrespect them, call them other names or none of that...

“I take full responsibility for not being able to play for my teammates and the fans and this organization as a whole. But at the end of the day there’s a lot that led up to that, you know, and I think a lot of players can relate to you know, those frustrations.”

Murray crossed the line and earned his suspension — he made contact with an official and yelled at him. The league cannot tolerate that.

But there is context, which ties into the tense relationship between referees and players in the league right now. It’s something Monty McCutchen — the NBA’s Senior Vice President, Head of Referee Development and Training — is working to correct. It will also be a long, long road to get there.