You’ve probably heard about it by now – NBA referees have announced they are going to live tweet with fans during games every week, explaining calls and answering questions.
This can’t possible end well, can it?
A Twitter exchange with the referees trying to explain why James Harden gets that extra step on his step-back jumper would take more time and bandwidth than Twitter can afford.
And I would hope somebody would ask why the referees are now made to put up with so much guff from players compared to what they used to have to hear. Draymond Green is allowed to go bonkers on those guys every night and seldom even gets a technical foul.
I’m sure Rasheed Wallace would like to know why that’s allowed to happen.
But seriously, if I’m one of the refs tasked with operating the Twitter account during a game when one of my counterparts makes a very bad call, I’m not sure I want to have to call him out on it.
And I certainly don’t want to be the referee sitting in that Twitter chair when the trolls come out, spewing all kinds of nasty stuff that doesn’t merit a response but sometimes can drive you over the edge and into some sort of crazy debate you can’t win.
I feel for the men with the whistles in the NBA. They are analyzed and critiqued to death by the league these days – much more than ever before. But it’s impossible to do their job and any criticism of these people must start with that.
And what I see from the on-court officials these days is an effort to get the call correct and not nearly as much bias as I saw a few decades ago.
When I started covering the league in the 1980s, I can tell you there were nights when the bias of some of the old-school referees was obvious.
There was bias against certain players, coaches and teams. And I saw a lot of it. There were people out there dispensing their own brand of justice as they pleased, with apparently no oversight. They carried grudges, friendships, prejudices and arguments onto the court every night -- setting themselves up on some nights as the most powerful people in the sport.
They got away with way too much.
I don’t see it often these days. And that has nothing to do with anything that’s going to be discussed on Twitter.