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

Mike Budenholzer calls contact with referee ‘unacceptable’

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer bumped referee Ben Taylor in the Hawks’ loss to the Cavaliers on Saturday.

That got Budenholzer ejected and fined.

But once the referees union declared Budenholzer’s punishment too lenient, he – correctly – realized he must do more.

KL Chouinard of

Budenholzer is trying to avoid a feud with NBA referees, who have large power over his team’s success.

I believe NBA officials do a good job overall, but their biggest flaw is their propensity for making their job personal. It’s not. Referees aren’t competing, and there’s no good excuse for them to get into the heated exchanges they do with coaches and players. The latter two groups are trying to win a game, and sometimes, their emotions spill over into their interactions with officials. If coaches and players cross a line, they should be punished, but their passion is understandable. Referees, who don’t get a win or loss, should do a better job keeping cool rather getting caught up in the fervor.

It’s in this environment referees carry out personal grudges. Admittedly, they’ve gotten much better about this since,give or take, about the time Adam Silver became commissioner. But it’s still far from a solved issue.

So, Budenholzer is trying to avoid receiving an unfavorable whistle the rest of the season – referees carrying out their own vigilante justice. Really, Budenholzer might have been better off if the NBA just suspended him for a game. But that didn’t happen.

Now, he’s trying to show as much remorse as possible in hopes it mollifies the officials. It’s an important step – more important than it should be.