The NBA announced Tuesday that they are suspending Montrezl Harrell five games for pushing a referee to the floor during a fracas at the end of a D-League game over the weekend. Harrell is a member of the Houston Rockets, but for the last dozen games has been assigned to their NBDL affiliate the Rio Grande Vipers. Toward the end of a game against the Bakersfield Jam on Saturday, Harrell got into a shoving match with opposing player Derek Cooke Jr.
In the video above, Harrell can clearly be seen violently knocking down a nearby referee who was trying to get a handle on the melee.
On Monday, the National Basketball Referees Association released a statement condemning Harrell and calling for a multiple-game suspension. Via AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA TODAY:
“After carefully reviewing videotape and related evidence concerning this incident, we have reached the inescapable conclusion that Harrell committed a deliberate assault and battery against Referee Goldenberg. Anything less than a multiple game suspension would constitute a green light for violence against officials,” Lee Seham, the NBRA general counsel said in a statement.
Harrell has played sparingly for the Rockets in 38 games this season but has really become a force for the Vipers during his D-League stint. But an incident like this only renders his already-uncertain future in the league even more tenuous.