There are things you simply can’t do in the NBA. Ever since the Malice at the Palace, the league has cracked down on fighting, handing hefty fines and automatic suspensions anytime someone throws a punch. But they’ve also tried to clean up interactions between the players and officials.
Earlier this decade, things had reached a fever pitch in terms of players arguing calls after almost every play, such that it was becoming too much of a distraction as it interrupted game flow and detracted from the overall viewing experience for fans. Hence the “Respect the Game” initiative.
There are strict expectations about how players are required to treat the referees, and avoiding making physical contact. But sometimes these things are inevitable and plunge us into some grey(ish) territory. Take, for instance, this incident with Jordan Clarkson during the Jazz’s game against the Suns on Thursday night.
Jordan Clarkson got a tech after shoving an official. pic.twitter.com/y1TQwAxv7t
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 1, 2021
On Friday, the NBA handed down a $25,000 fine to Clarkson, on top of the technical foul he was issued after the play.
$25K fine for Jordan Clarkson as a result of making contact with an official.
Here’s the video of the incident:https://t.co/oeLSDOrCO2
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) January 2, 2021
Clarkson was certainly in the wrong in terms of pushing the official here. But the frustration was also understandable, given that Clarkson had just made a steal on the inbounds pass and then lost possession as his momentum carried him into the referee, who was right in the middle of the play. Regardless, the zero-tolerance policy means that players will always be in the wrong in instances like this.