David Stern Suspends Joey Crawford Indefinitely for "Egregious Violation of Game Management"NBA Commissioner David Stern announced today that Joey Crawford has been suspended indefinitely because of what Stern called an "egregious violation of game management by an individual who had been specifically addressed on this very subject by me." Crawford ejected Spurs' forward Tim Duncan from Sunday's Dallas-San Antonio game by issuing Duncan a second technical foul; Duncan was sitting on the bench, laughing, when Crawford threw the hammer down. After the game, Duncan told reporters that Crawford had challenged him to a fight. As I wrote right after the game, there is a precedent for the NBA to take immediate and severe action against Crawford: Jake O'Donnell, a well respected and long serving referee, ejected Clyde Drexler from a playoff game for no apparent reason. O'Donnell had refused to shake Drexler's hand before the contest. The NBA made no announcement, but O'Donnell never worked a game again; he announced his "retirement" months later.
Of course, as I noted in my post, in this day and age of intense media coverage, the NBA can not just make Crawford "disappear" without issuing some kind of statement. That is why Stern is making the rounds today on various TV programs, clearly explaining exactly what Crawford did wrong and why Crawford will--at a minimum--not be working any more games this season, including the playoffs. Stern added, "Although Joey is consistently rated as one of our top referees, he must be held accountable for his actions on the floor, and we will have further discussions with him following the season to be sure he understands his responsibilities."
Don't expect to see Crawford back in the NBA ever again. Stern told ESPN, "In fairness I would say that he doesn't think that he did anything wrong and probably doesn't wish to work in the NBA anymore." Crawford clearly still does not get it and it is inconceivable that, barring a major change of heart on his part that certainly seems extremely unlikely, David Stern will ever let him back into the league.
posted by David Friedman @ 4:31 PM