Ja Morant is going to be paying a fine for this one.
At the end of the Grizzlies’ loss to the Knicks, the notoriously quick-triggered Tony Brothers called a technical on Morant and coach Taylor Jenkins after Morant did not get a foul call on a drive into the paint. Then Dillon Brooks got one from Brothers. After all that, a frustrated Morant kept talking and Brothers’ ejected him.
Back in the locker room, Morant wasn’t done talking and Tweeted a comment at Brothers.
send threats then want to give techs lol 😂😅🤡 https://t.co/ZMWUmqPgXY
— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) May 4, 2021
Speaking to a pool reporter after the game, Brothers denied using any threatening language. He also explained why Morant was ejected from his point of view.
POOL REPORT ON THE EJECTIONS THAT OCCURRED IN THE FOURTH QUARTER OF TONIGHT’S NEW YORK KNICKS AT MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES GAMEhttps://t.co/haqx4NqlM8
— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) May 4, 2021
“They had been warned and he continued to complain, and I gave him an opportunity to stop and he wouldn’t, so I called the first technical foul. And then he continued to complain and walked toward me and so when he got close to me, I called a second technical foul and ejected him.”
Basketball is and should be an emotional game — referees need to give players space to vent and show that emotion, and on the whole referees have been quick with the “respect the game” technicals of late. It’s a rather fruitless cycle: Referees feel players are not giving them the respect they deserve, so they give out technicals like candy, which makes the players respect the refs a little less. It’s like that high school teacher we all had who tried to control the classroom by giving out referrals/detention slips to everyone — it didn’t work then, it’s not working now.
That said, Tweeting about the referees after the game leads to a fine every time. Morant knew what he was doing and knew he’d be pulling out his checkbook for it.
Whether or not Morant deserved this ejection, the tension between referees and players in the league remains an issue.