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Raptors’ VanVleet doesn’t hold back in ripping referees after loss

Portland Trail Blazers v Toronto Raptors

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 08: Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors talks to referee Ben Taylor during the second half of their NBA game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Scotiabank Arena on January 8, 2023 in Toronto, Canada. 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. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)

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Fred VanVleet was going to get his $25,000 (or, in this case, maybe $35K) worth.

VanVleet had enough and didn’t hold back in ripping the officials — specifically referee Ben Taylor — in his postgame comments. VanVleet made sure to make it clear it was not just one referee he was talking about.

“I’ll take a fine, I don’t really care. I thought Ben Taylor was f****** terrible tonight. For most nights, out of the three [referees] there’s one or two that just f*** the game up. It’s been like that a couple games in a row. Denver was tough, obviously. You come out tonight competing pretty hard, in the third quarter, I get a b******* tech, changes the whole dynamic of the game, changes the whole flow of the game.

“Most of the refs are trying hard, I like a lot of refs, they’re trying hard, they’re pretty fair, they communicate well, and then you got the other ones who just want to be d****. It just kind of f**** the game up. Nobody’s coming to see that s***, they come to see the players. I think we’re losing a bit of the fabric of what the NBA is and was....

“What are we doing? There’s a fine line, obviously, I understand that but I think the jurisdiction and the power trip that we’ve been on this year with some of our officials in this league is getting out of hand. I’ll take my fine for speaking on it but this is f****** ridiculous.”

Notice VanVleet is not frothing at the mouth here, he’s calm and rational. He’s explaining the way he sees things. A lot of players around the league should pitch in to pay VanVleet’s fine because he just spoke for them.

VanVleet’s not wrong. I get it, being a referee is hard — these men and women go out and do their best nightly only to hear from players/coaches/fans that they suck. NBA referees are the best in the world at their jobs (watch some college/FIBA games and get back to me). They deserve more respect than they get.

But all too often at least some referees seem to hunt out that disrespect and then throw their weight around handing out technicals when they are not deserved.

Like the one Jordan Poole got a few nights ago.

Or the late-game technical on Scottie Barnes that quick-trigger Scott Foster handed out and changed the flow at the end of a game.

And that’s just over the past couple of days. While players need to show the officials a little more respect in the big picture, the referees need to check their egos at the door. Unfortunately, being the person yelled at by everyone is part of the gig.