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NBA Ref Suspended for Challenging Duncan to Fight

April 17, 2007 11:32 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Veteran NBA referee Joey Crawford was suspended indefinitely after an in-game altercation with San Antonio Spurs star Tim Duncan, highlighting an ongoing debate over how to deal with the egos of referees and players alike.

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Joey Crawford is one of the most well respected referees in the NBA, that's why he's officiated more postseason games than any other active referee.

But after his altercation with Tim Duncan, he can expect to miss out on this year’s playoffs.

NBA Commissioner David Stern has suspended Crawford indefinitely for his behavior toward Tim Duncan during an April 15 game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Dallas Mavericks.

Duncan contends that Crawford challenged him to a fight after ejecting him from the game with a second technical foul while he sat the bench laughing with a teammate.

Crawford, who is as well know for his excellent officiating as he is his temper, says that Duncan referred to him with an expletive, and as a result the Spurs Forward-Center has been fined $25,000 for verbal abuse of an official.

The controversy has inspired a number of debates over the authority of NBA referees, and whether it serves the interest of the fans.

Some basketball pundits believe it hypocritical of Commissioner Stern to dish out such a harsh punishment after instating his zero tolerance policy on player complaining this season. Still others applaud him for holding referees to the same standards of conduct as the players.
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It remains unknown whether Crawford will be allowed to return to the NBA after the end of this season. This, however, isn’t the first time he’s gotten attention for his temper. In Game 2 of the 2003 Western Conference finals, Crawford called four technical fouls during the first 10-plus minutes.

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