To be fair, Kyle Lowry has a point. The replay above makes it abundantly clear that Rajon Rondo used his off arm to shield the Toronto Raptors point guard from getting an effective contest. And with his team struggling against an inferior opponent at home, Lowry’s extra frustration at the no-call is understandable, too.
But that doesn’t make his reaction to getting ejected any more defensible – whether you consider a recent verbal altercation between a player and referee or not.
It was just 10 days ago that the league office suspended Rondo, coincidentally, one game for directing a gay slur at official Bill Kennedy. The veteran official told Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski he was gay less than 48 hours later, intensifying the firestorm of criticism levied against the Sacramento Kings floor general.
That event sparked a much-needed discussion on not just sexual orientation in the NBA workplace, but also on-court interactions with players and referees. Lowry, it deserves mentioning, was tossed by Scott Wall before using the “f*cking b*tch” pejorative. The circumstances surrounding his ejection and Rondo’s aren’t as similar as they appear on the surface.
Regardless, one common thread exists between them: players using supposedly emasculating terms to denigrate referees.
Criticism of officials by those playing or coaching the game is inevitable. That’s just the nature of sports, and it’s more visible in basketball than any other considering how close fans are to the action. But the culture of disparaging referees – and the competition, frankly – with vulgar curses meant to question their manhood needs to stop.
It’s embarrassing, and needlessly injects controversy into games meant to be enjoyed by all.