George, via Nick Friedell of ESPN:
“I’ve been fined multiple times,” George told reporters. “I’ve been vocal to the point where the league issues [a statement], ‘Hey, we missed a call. Hey, we missed that.’ Officials do it during games [saying], ‘I missed that call, I missed this call. We’re sorry. We’re sorry.’ It’s getting repetitive. They see it, they know what’s going on. They know what’s a foul. They know what’s not a foul. It comes down from somewhere else how these games are going, I believe.”
George was asked if he felt that things would be different if he played for a big-market team.
“Since I’ve been in this jersey we’ve always fought this battle,” George said. “Ever since I’ve been playing, ever since I’ve been in this jersey we’ve fought this battle. Maybe the league has teams they like so they can give them the benefit of the doubt. We’re the little brother of the league. We’re definitely the little brother of the league.”
Referees are humans who sometimes make mistakes and sometimes acknowledge those mistakes. That’s not evidence of a greater conspiracy.
If the league were directing officials to favor large markets, what are the odds this would be the response? I believe at least one ref would spill the beans. This would be too large of a secret for so many people to keep. It’s nearly as unlikely that refs would tell – but only to players on the court by apologizing for missed calls and no other way.
The Pacers too often settle for jumpers, and they’ve defended aggressively over the years. That will lead to uneven foul counts. It’s not necessarily about market size.
The NBA will likely fine George, but the Pacers face a more difficult decision in their long-term planning. Will George bear down and fight for Indiana, or will he bolt for a team he believes gets a favorable whistle? The new veteran-designated-player rule could factor, but the Pacers should also consider these revealing comments.