We’ve all had problems in our lives. We either accept them, complain about them, which accomplishes nothing, or we hit them head on and resolve them. That’s the decision Celtics fans, for that matter all NBA fans, face when it comes to the quality of officiating in what’s marketed as the world’s greatest basketball league.
LeBron James took almost as many free throws as the entire Celtics team in game two. The Heat went to the line 47 times compared to the Celtics 29. LeBron and D-Wade are the only players in these 2012 NBA playoffs to shoot over 100 free throws each. The disparity in statistics is endless. Some of you believe David Stern is telling his officiating crews, either directly or through subtle measures, that he wants the LeBron-D-Wade due in the finals to boost TV ratings. The NBA under Stern’s watch has always been about marketing its stars at the expense of the team. This type of conspiracy theory has been presented by fans and media personalities for years. Maybe there’s some truth to it. Well, it’s time to stop K’vetching and do something about it.
Sue the NBA for fraud. I’m not kidding here. You the fan watch games on TV and the internet, listen to them on the radio, and buy tickets to see them live under the assumption they aren’t predetermined. That they represent the true ideals of sport, namely sportsmanship, fair play, and the concept that the best team wins. You invest your time and dollars watching a contest that unfolds before your eyes, under the assumption there is no league mandated hidden agendas. If David Stern is selling you a bill of goods, then take the league to court.
There is precedence here. Jets fans sued the Patriots for millions on the grounds that the Pats cheated through Spygate, thereby robbing them of a fair and balanced gridiron fight. The U.S. Supreme Court eventually refused to hear the case. However, don’t let that deter you. Fans expect fair competition. If you and other NBA fans believe a fraud if being perpetrated, then file a class-action lawsuit against David Stern and the NBA. If the case isn’t thrown out by the courts, then Stern and his officials will have to answer questions under oath. Maybe we’ll finally get to the bottom of these conspiracy theories.
If a class-action suit is too radical for you, then why not work to change the culture in the NBA. I’m referring to the blatant acceptance that the league’s superstars/veterans have earned the right to get the benefit of the doubt from officials. Not a game goes by that I don’t hear a broadcaster say that so and so isn’t going to get that call because he hasn’t been in the league long enough. This warped way of thinking bothers me more that the conspiracy theories, because it’s so obviously wrong and can so easily be changed. If an infraction happens on the court, who made it, how big a star he is, or how long he’s been in the league should have nothing to do with whether it’s a foul.
It’s like the ridiculous code of conduct in major league baseball when a pitcher throws at a batter’s head the next inning, because one of his teammates was hit by a pitch in the prior inning. Or when a batter is plunked by a pitch in retaliation for hitting a home run. This Neanderthal line of thinking in professional sports, including the NBA, must stop. It’s time to stop accepting this zany sports culture. Change can happen if you the fan decide to boycott the NBA. Turn off the TV set and stop buying Celtics tickets. Do something else with your disposable income and leisure time. Hit the league where it hurts, in the pocketbook. Stern will get the message and you can bet your bottom dollar that we’ll return to unbiased officiating and fair play.