General manager or not, going after referees in their own locker room after a game is a major no-no. This is what led the general manager Sean Marks suspended for their fifth game, when he entered the referee’s locker room after their losing game against the Philadelphia 76ers with a score of 108 – 112.
Aside from having suspended, Marks was also fined for $25,000. The last incident for an executive of having an inappropriate interaction with a referee was way back in 2013. It was after a game between Atlanta Hawks and Boston Celtics, to which the general manager of Atlanta was fined for $15,000. After six long years of no such incident involving executives, the news eventually made it to social media.
Seeing that the issue has gotten big and fans are non-stop debating about it, Joe Tsai, the owner of Nets, thought it appropriate to tweet his opinion. To everyone’s surprise, he was also fined by the NBA for $35,000. It was said that the comment made against the call was ‘detrimental to the NBA’.
This was Tsai’s tweet that got him fined,
“My partners and I have spoken and the entire Nets ownership group support our GM Sean Marks for protesting the wrong calls and missed calls. NBA rules are rules and we respect that, but our players and fans expect things to be fair”
To his defense, the referee’s call was an important turning point for the team to have a chance at the game, and it was the playoffs after all. We’d also have to take in consideration what the Nets were fighting for. They were one game behind with their standing of 1-2 against the 76ers. The team were in a lot of pressure, which probably made the entirety of the team a little angsty.
How it all started
The altercation began with a flagrant foul call against Sixers’ Joel Embiid. The referee’s called it as a flagrant foul 1, to which the Nets argued to be a flagrant foul 2. After the call, a fight almost broke out with Dudley pushing Embid, and Butler pushing Allen. It was a bit chaotic, considering it was the playoffs.
This was a big deal to the Nets because if the call was ruled as a ‘flagrant foul 2’, Embiid would have been suspended. This could have potentially changed the flow of the game and could have reversed the end results.
The referees had this to say,
“Embiid’s foul was ruled a Flagrant 1 because there was a wind up with unnecessary contact that we didn’t deem to be excessive,”
Nets coach Kenny Atkinson retorted with,
“So, the big point of emphasis this year was wrapping (up) a player when he rolls to the rim, wrapping around the waist, – You guys can judge for yourselves if you watch the clip. But there was a clear wrap by Tobias Harris on the roll. I’m just disappointed. That’s a point of emphasis from day one at the coaches meeting how they’re really going to emphasize that beginning of the game, end of the game and all season. So, how that all of a sudden doesn’t become a foul on the wrap? I just don’t understand.”
He then added,
“I’ve looked at the clip 10 times. There’s a clear wrap. You guys can decide for yourselves.”
To be fair, it’s all ‘could have’ and ‘might have’ situation, where it could have still ended with the Nets losing. Miscalls is not that rare in the NBA even in the playoffs, especially with ‘flops’ getting out of hand. Needless to say, it was a questionable call by the referees, but it also was unethical to rush the referees inside their locker room.