Wednesday, May 04, 2005

NBA Conspriacy

This was originally a comment on Mike's post about the ref conspiracy, but it got so long-winded I had to create a post for it.

Yeah, it's all anyone in the media wants to talk about today, and here--in random order--are my thoughts on the issue:

-I could really care less. Refs are fixing games? Wow. I could fill the Grand Canyon with my utter lack of interest. Would it surprise me if it were true? Eh. Would it shock me? Eh.
Fact is, I don't really want to hear about how refs might be fixing a game that I believe is horrible. If they had kept calling fouls and travels the way the rules are written...none of this would ever have happened. I can't feel bad about a player getting slighted by the refs when he regularly takes three steps after ceasing his dribble.

-Perhaps the thing I hate most about the NBA (and basketball in general) is this: the game's rules get less enforced the higher you go through the ranks. We make the kids and high school students learn and follow the rules. Then they get to college and though the rules are still enforced...there is greater leniency. Then they get to the NBA and everything they've ever learned is thrown out the window. The NBA is a Me League, not a team league.
Sports should get tougher as you grow and advance, not easier. Look at the NFL, it's all about speed and size and strength. Even a former Heisman winner couldn't get drafted to play in this upper tier of players. It gets harder as you get better.

I just can't respect a league whose motto seems to be: let's be as lax as possible about the rules, even to the point of not enforcing them.

-Conspiracy theories, in general, aren't something I buy into. Chris and I were just discussing this last night. Certainly there have been conspiracies revealed over our country's history (Quiz show scandal, Watergate, Enron, etc.) that make us more inclined to believe a conspiracy could exist. But in general, I'm not buying them.

I don't buy that we went to Iraq for oil (Iraq War). I don't buy that Jesus had a wife and a kid (DaVinci Code). I don't buy that someone other than Oswald killed Kennedy (Kennedy Assasination). I don't buy that we faked the moon landing.

I don't buy any of that stuff. Any potential conspiracy that would require thousands of people to stay quiet (not to mention one that requires generations of people to stay quiet) is just not viable in my eyes. Not today. Not in this culture where everyone with even the slightest secret can make a buck and have 15 minutes in the limelight.

For the refs to be influencing games there has to be quite a vast web of secret keepers...and I just don't think human nature allows that to be possible. The league, like other sports leagues, is made up of whom? The teams. So if the league is fixing who wins...then by association so are the teams. Now do you really think that any team would accept a predestined defeat in the playoffs (and the requisite silence that comes with it) to allow another team to reap the windfall that comes with post-season success?! I don't.

And if Van Gundy's guy is real...why is Van Gundy the only one he's telling about this stuff? Why aren't there more teams that get the shaft every year standing up to whine about it?

-Sorry to say, but anytime somebody cries "conspiracy" I tend to think of them as a wacko. It's just too easy. Got arrested for cooking meth? Conspiracy! Got caught killing your wife? Conspiracy. I see it is another sign of our culture's lack of willingness to take responsibility for themselves.

Speaking of wacko...Michael Jackson claims there's a conspiracy to frame him for child molestation. Right. I think it is (mathematically and logically speaking) WAY more likely that Van Gundy is just pissed about some bad calls and decided to stir up controversy about it than it is that he's right.

Think about it. It's basic PR. Now that he's stirred up this hornet's nest, everyone from Joe Fan to the commisioner will be looking more closely at the refs. And the refs know that. So now they're much more likely to be on their toes and much less likely to call phantom fouls. Van Gundy gets his fair treatment...even if he has to fork over $100,000 to get it.

And I think Stern knows that. And that's why he fined him so heavily and why he has today threatened to oust Van Gundy from the league completely. Because he sees Van Gundy is using referee criticism to further his own team's chances.

That's all the ranting I have time for now. But to sum up: I hate the NBA. I don't care if refs fix games, because I'm reasonably sure it won't affect my enjoyment level if they're stopped. I don't care who wins these games because with a product this crappy...we're all losers anyway.


At 5/05/2005 02:39:00 AM, Blogger Mike said...

The reason more people don't come out and accuse NBA refs of anything is... you get a $100,000 fine and might be kicked out of the league. I'm not big into conspiracy theories unless I start to see something funny, and in this case it's stunk for years. I'm not saying that I believe it, I'm just saying that's it's far more possbible than I would like. And for a coach to make such a bold claim makes me wonder if he knows something. A quick google search shows several articles from the last few years that think similar thoughts.

At 5/05/2005 03:03:00 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Here's an example from 2001.

At 5/05/2005 10:29:00 AM, Blogger Kennelworthy said...

Well, I'm sure I'm not objective on the issue, since I really hate the NBA.

And I can see where there seems to have been a growing concern among players and coaches that think something fishy is going on.

Just a few more thoughts though:

I think it's much more likely that there's one or two refs with a personal bias for a certain team and calling fouls strategically to help that team win....than it is that the league and all the officials are in cahoots together on the issue.

I still contend that the conspiracy theory is bogus because of one thing: The commissioner (and the "league") works for the owners. Why would any one owner agree to a conspiracy that ensures said owner loses championships and money?


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