Report: NBA still mulling fining Doc Rivers for criticizing referees

12 Comments

Doc Rivers was livid after the Clippers’ Game 5 loss to the Thunder on Tuesday. Among Rivers’ criticism of the officials for the infamous out-of-bounds call:

  • “We got robbed because of that call. And it’s clear. Everybody in the arena saw it.”
  • “That could be a series-defining call. And that’s not right.”
  • “C’mon, they had it in the arena. Of course, you saw it. Steve Kerr was over there shaking his head. Everybody saw it.”
  • “I love them. I think all three of those officials are terrific officials. But on that call, they got it wrong. And that’s a game-defining and possibly a series-defining call. And that ain’t right.”

Asked about the NBA’s memos admitting officiating mistakes, Rivers said, “I’ll release the memo. They blew the call. That’s the memo.”

Turns out, the memo actually said, “The play correctly stood as called.”

Objecting to a wrong call does not typically give a coach license – at least from the league – to criticize the referees publicly, but that seemed to be Rivers’ only defense. Without that, there’s little working in his favor.

So, where is Rivers’ fine?

Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com:

As of Wednesday evening, the NBA had still not determined whether Rivers would be fined for publicly criticizing the officiating, according to a league source.

Maybe this is just the difference between David Stern’s NBA and Adam Silver’s.

I believe Jason Kidd is the only coach Silver has fined for criticizing officials so far, and maybe Silver is more lenient than his predecessor. Still, letting Rivers escape a fine here would be far removed from precedent.

I’d guess the league is debating not so much whether to fine Rivers, but how much. The NBA is also surely considering his berating of the officials on the court after the game.

I would be very surprised if the NBA doesn’t fine Rivers, but I’m already surprised it hasn’t happened yet, so who knows at this point?