On Saturday, Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer was ejected from his team’s game against the Cavaliers after he made contact with an official while arguing a no-call.
It certainly appeared as though there was plenty of contact on Justin Holiday’s drive, but still there’s no excuse for getting that close to a ref, and even if the contact wasn’t intentional, he was rightfully ejected.
Budenholzer was fined $25,000 by the NBA on Monday, but according to the National Basketball Referee’s Association, that was not enough, as they called instead for the Hawks coach to face suspension. Via ESPN:
“Referees operate in an environment in which an influential NBA team owner has repeatedly mocked the efficacy of fines as means to change bad behavior,” Lee Seham, the National Basketball Referees Association general counsel, said in a statement.
“Recent league precedent dictated that a coach who aggressively charged onto the floor during live action and physically interfered with a referee would be suspended. We are now operating at a lower level with less transparency, degraded safety, and diminished respect for the game. Coaches should compete by creating better teams, not by physically intimidating officials.”
Mavs head coach and the head of the NBA Coach’s Association Rick Carlisle, however, was having none of it, as he lambasted Lee Seham, the NBRA’s general counsel in a statement, saying:
“The NBA Coaches Association greatly values our working relationship with the league office and our officials…For the record, our association would NEVER lobby for the suspension of an official for a situation like this one that has been thoroughly reviewed by the NBA and clearly determined to be incidental in nature. We view the unwarranted and reckless verbal attacks by Referee Union general counsel as grandstanding in nature, and beneath the dignity of the highly regarded group whose interests he claims to represent. The best interests of our great league lie far above what appears to be an obvious cheap and misguided attempt for a blast of short-term Twitter fame.”
For his part, Budenholzer reached out and apologized to the official, Ben Taylor, and said in a statement that he understands that any contact with an official, no matter how incidental is “unacceptable.”