NBA Playoffs 2011: Why Referees Should Be Given More Respect

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NBA Playoffs 2011: Why Referees Should Be Given More Respect
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

"Investigate these refs after the game for real."

This was one of many negative remarks on Facebook about the game officials during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat. My response back to them is, "Are you serious?"

The story of former NBA official Tim Donaghy gambling on games that he officiated is well-documented. However, don't let the actions of one person cloud your judgment about the group as a whole. Just because one official was accused of fixing games does not mean this is the case for all officials.

There is no doubt that the officials during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals made bad calls from time to time, but this is to be expected because we are all human and make mistakes.

Players are given an inordinate amount of respect, and officials should be given that same respect. NBA officials work hard for many years to get to that level, just like the players. In addition, they have to go through yearly NBA referee training camps to get re-educated on a vast array of officiating issues.

For the most part, from fans, coaches and the media, officials get criticized and do not receive any positive reaction. On the other hand, players receive both negative and positive responses.

Miami's Chris Bosh has been praised regularly for his 34-point performance against the Bulls in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, but why is it that nothing is said when officials are put in tough spots and get the calls right? When officials make mistakes they get chastised excessively, but when they do a remarkable job, it goes left unsaid.

Also, officials tend to handle shouted criticisms from the crowd better than players do, and that fact should be noted. For instance, Joakim Noah of the Bulls shouted a gay slur at a fan during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals in response to negative remark, but you never hear of this kind of response from a referee. 

Next time you are going to disrespect an official, think twice. Respond to extraordinary official calls and not just bad calls!

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