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#pounditMonday, May 29, 2023

NBA Referees respond to rumors of 1 official being demoted

Adam Silver speaking

Jun 2, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; NBA commissioner Adam Silver talks to media before game one of the 2022 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The National Basketball Referees Association is responding this week to the recent rumors about official Ben Taylor.

After a loss to the LA Clippers earlier this month, Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet unloaded on Taylor, the ten-year NBA refereeing veteran. He called Taylor out by name, saying that he was “f–king terrible” and gave him a “bulls–t tech” that night. VanVleet also said the majority of his technical fouls this season had been assessed by Taylor, suggesting that Taylor had something “personal” against him.

Here is VanVleet’s full rant (but obviously beware of the bad language).

VanVleet drew a fine of $30,000 from the NBA for the rant. But many were wondering if his blunt comments had actually achieved their intended effect.

In a recent podcast appearance, basketball writer Tom Haberstroh, formerly of ESPN, shared some interesting stats about Taylor ever since VanVleet’s scorched-earth rant. Haberstroh said that Taylor had been the crew chief in 41 of his 52 games officiated this season before the VanVleet rant but only in one of his five games since then. He even described the situation as Taylor having been “demoted” in his assignments.

But in a tweet on Thursday, the NBRA responded to the claim that Taylor had been demoted. They ripped it as “categorically false” and said that the assignments in question had been released weeks ahead of time. The NBRA added that Taylor’s duties “remained unchanged.”

Haberstroh also backtracked about his characterization of the situation as Taylor having been “demoted.”

It seems like NBA officials have been under greater scrutiny this year with players getting more and more comfortable about publicly blasting them. But with the NBRA’s statement here (as well as Haberstroh’s backpedal), it doesn’t appear that Taylor has actually suffered any adverse consequences from the league as a result of VanVleet’s rant against him.

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