NBA suspends Shaun Livingston, referee Kirkland over head-butting incident

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Make contact with an official during an argument and it’s an automatic ejection and suspension. That’s what happened to Golden State’s Shaun Livingston Monday over a confrontation Sunday with official Courtney Kirkland.

But in a very rare move, the league also suspended Kirkland — taking him out of the officiating rotation for a week — for “shared responsibility for the contact that occurred.”

The incident in question happened midway through the second quarter of the Warriors eventual victory, Livingston didn’t like a no-call and confronted Kirkland over the incident.

From the league announcement:

“As part of the incident, Livingston and Kirkland bumped heads, and Livingston was assessed a technical foul and ejected for making contact with a game official.  Upon league office review, it was determined that Kirkland moved toward Livingston and shared responsibility for the contact that occurred.”

This is the correct move. If anything, this is more on Kirkland, who moves very directly into Livingston (who had played a long NBA career without being ejected prior to this game). The NBA does punish officials, but rarely in such a public manner.

Livingston is out Monday night when the Warriors face the Pelicans. Kirkland is out of the referee rotation until Dec. 11. Both of those suspensions are without pay.