“How do they not call a tech on JR Smith for coming off the bench to taunt our player on the ground?” - Mark Cuban
When Mark Cuban tweeted his displeasure with an NBA refereeing crew after Friday’s loss to Denver, no one should have been surprised. No one should have been upset. No one, certainly, should have lost $25,000.
But this is the NBA as we know it, as loathsome and unfair as real life under a cold and autonomous and, kind of loathsome, dictator.
I understand the logic behind avoiding public criticism of the officials, that it tarnishes the reputation of the league, that it undermines the integrity of the game, etc.
But if complaining about officials is behavior unbecoming of an owner, holding a grudge on the level of Superman and Lex Luthor against an owner is certainly behavior unbecoming of a commissioner.
The message is clear; if you have something negative to say, keep it quiet, regardless of whether you are right or wrong, regardless of whether you are publicly decrying the state of the game, or making an offhanded remark of 140 characters or less to those privy to
your Twitter updates. Loose lips sink ships.
No one will be criticizing the league with impunity, even if there are officials on the take, even if a referee comes to the arena ready to fight Tim Duncan for no apparent reason. Even if, for example, they miss an obvious technical foul towards the end of a disappointing game, towards the end of a (somewhat) disappointing season.
There is no room for emotion or displeasure in the NBA. Not now.
Don’t speak it, don’t whisper it, and certainly, whatever you do, don’t tweet about it.
Big brother David Stern is listening.