Crawford Out for the Season

You already know about that Crawford, but did you know about this one?

David Stern suspended referee Joey Crawford indefinitely today following Crawford’s ejection of Tim Duncan in Sunday’s Spurs/Mavs matchup on national TV. According to the story, Stern said:

“Especially in light of similar prior acts by this official, a significant suspension is warranted,” Stern said in a statement. “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.”

The article goes on to suggest that Crawford thinks he may have officiated his final NBA game.

I must admit I am pleasantly surprised by the commissioner’s decision to suspend Crawford. The league is usually tight-lipped when it comes to disciplining its zebras, and rightly so. But some public disciplining of Joey Crawford has been due for some time.

The actions of officials are routinely blown out of proportion and discussed without proper appreciation for how difficult their jobs are. However, Joey Crawford is in a category all by himself. I cannot think of a single official that so publicly and consistently crosses the line to the point of being unprofessional. Crawford consistently refuses to follow the “sticks and stones” mantra that the league expects players to follow. Crawford, is to my mind rarely satisfied with simply diffusing a situation. He insists on having the last word. Everyone else must walk away, must not laugh, lest they show him up. But Crawford seems to have no problems showing others up. I have never felt this way about a single other official in any sport. (And I’m a baseball fan first and foremost where the screaming matches with umpires are legendary.)

We entrust officials with control over our games so that a disinterested third party can manage the rules and manage conflict. The league has done an admirable job of making players understand that they must respect this arrangement. But, those to whom such trust is given must also respect the arrangement–not lord it over others. Joey Crawford, on too many occasions for my taste, lost sight of that.

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Part-time blogger on the Knicks at and Seahawks at In my free time I hang out at the University of South Carolina and occasionally fill thirsty young minds with knowledge about various and sundry things related to consumer behavior and marketing.

10 thoughts to “Crawford Out for the Season”

  1. He completely deserves it, without a doubt. He ejected Duncan for no good reason and threatened him. A disgrace to his fellow referees and a great decision by Stern

  2. Real Sports did a story on the Crawford brothers a few weeks ago. Joey’s brother is a baseball ump, as was their dad. Dad looked like a real pip, classic yesteryear no gruff kinda guy. I forgot his name, something odd like Skip or so.

  3. Definitely agreed. From the reports if the meeting, it sounds like Stern came down with the hammer on him, and Crawford stubbornly refused to admit any fault whatsoever. And now it appears that he won’t be back exactly for that reason; a refusal to admit that what he said happened (Duncan at the scorer’s table complaining) didn’t even happen at all.

  4. Crawford was already given the boot once before, wasn’t he? I recall him being kicked out after getting in trouble for tax evasion during the lockout, but I might be mistaken.

    Either way, even without challenging Duncan to a fight he would have been in trouble because he was warned about this before. I say good riddance.

  5. I was remiss for not mentioning this in the post. Joey Crawford is an exceptional official. We are losing one of the game’s best at playoff time, which is a shame.

    But, Joey Crawford is a bully, plain and simple. He acted a complete fool, and you just can’t have that. (Having said that, I’ll tell you right now. I’d pay money to see Crawford and Duncan go at in some oversized boxing gloves with the proceeds going to charity.)

    In an odd way, I’ve gained a tremendous amount of respect for David Stern this season. I lost a lot for him after “the brawl.” I had no major problems with the player suspensions. But, he should have penalized the Pistons for their fans’ behavior by removing a home game or playing it in an empty arena. He got that fans need to be protected from the players crossing the line but completely missed that fans can also cross the line.

    I feel like he’s learned this season that there’s more to managing the league than bringing the hammer down on players. He’s got to protect their interests too. He (eventually) listened to them about the leather ball. And, he disciplined an official who has a history of bullying players instead of officiating basketball games. Who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks?

  6. Completely unrelated, but:

    A good way to end tanking for good and promote NBA teams to strive for better efficiency on and off the court might be to copy the European system in which the bottom two or three teams are demoted to a secondary league, while the top two or three teams in that league are promoted.

    Critics might argue that this would favor big market teams. However, last year the Blazers (owned by Paul Allen), Knicks (ca you say big market?), and Hawks/Bobs (don’t know how big those markets are exactly, but they’re both growing fast) were the worst three teams. This year it’ll be Memphis, Boston, and Milwaukee. Boston is pretty big and the Bucks once afforded to have three max-deal players on their team.

    I’m not sure how the draft would work: I’d propose giving the new teams the most ping-pong balls and second division teams no picks. Or maybe second round picks.
    Teams not currently in the NBA would start at a tremendous disadvantage, as expansion teams do now, but it would give entrepenuers a chance to start teams in markets like Las Vegas and Oklahoma City, second teams to compete in NBA cities, or teams in extremely small markets.

    For those who say that these new teams will have no chance I’d counter with less talented international teams who play as a team and beat the U.S. team or cinderella teams in the NCAAs.

    The end result would be a higher quality of basketball for fans and the extinction or sale of poorly run franchises due to having to compete in a more competitive market.

  7. I hate how so many people have said that Crawford is “one of the best”. Yet he’s known for sticking his neck in every game he’s a part of. How exactly is that GOOD? The best refs are the guys who just do their job. The guys you and me can’t name. Crawford’s not “one of the best”. He’s one of the worst. Possibly THE worst. Which is why he’s unemployed.

  8. I cannot believe they can’t freakin’ beat Charlotte in a game Charlotte would be better off losing.

  9. nice, hopefully that cost those loudmouth Bulls a few spots in the draft. if NJ can hang on here, that would be a great 1-2 blow to Chicago, great to see. GO NJ!

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