Cavaliers center Timofey Mozgov approached Joey Crawford during Game 4 of the NBA Finals to protest a call, and the referee screamed: “Do me a favor and shut up.”
Mozgov said when the team took the floor for warmups during intermission, Crawford approached him and expressed regret for speaking to him in that manner.
“I don’t think any ref should talk that way to a player,” Mozgov told NEOMG. “That has never happened before. I didn’t appreciate it, but it’s in the past now. He apologized and I’ve moved on.”
Players sometimes cross the line when interacting with referees. That shouldn’t be permissible, but it’s understandable, because players are in the heat of competition. Playing with emotion helps, though a side effect is an inability to turn it off when communicating with refs.
Referees aren’t competing for anything. There is no legitimate reason for them to act so emotionally on the court. Refereeing with emotional harms someone’s ability to do the job. Referees should remain calm and diffuse tension.
It’s good Crawford apologized. It’d be even better if he (and a few other refs) changed their approach – but I’m sure not counting on that.