The NBA reportedly sat referee Tony Brothers for one game earlier this month for calling Dallas Mavericks guard Spencer Dinwiddie a "b---h ass motherf--ker" during a Nov. 4 game against the Toronto Raptors.
NBA insider Marc Stein reported the league did not announce the decision because it was not a formal suspension.
Dinwiddie brought the situation to light during his postgame press conference after a 111-110 win over the Raptors. He was whistled for a technical in the second quarter after telling Brothers, "That wasn't a f--king take foul," leading to the veteran referee calling Dinwiddie a "b---h ass motherf--ker" in earshot of a teammate.
"I apologize to Tony Brothers for what seemed to keep him irate, which was a clap," Dinwiddie told reporters. "He thought it was disrespectful. If you watch the games, and I know that's what refs are supposed to do, you see I clap to get the attention of my teammates, things of that nature, but it was nothing personal, so as a man, I would like to say I'm sorry first and foremost.
"And secondarily I would like to say, not only would I like my [fine] money back, but I would like to not be called a b---h ass motherf--ker to my teammates."
Brothers has not publicly addressed the controversy.
It's interesting the NBA chose to handle the matter internally rather than publicizing a punishment. Brothers has been an NBA official since the 1994-95 season, making him one of the league's most senior referees.
NBA player punishments are almost unilaterally announced to the public—including fines for foul language—so it would stand to reason that an announcement should have been made for the sake of transparency.