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Dwight is Right

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Dwight Jaynes weighs in on the ongoing referee discussion in the Trib today.  I find myself agreeing with many of the things he says.  The long-term, big-picture perspective in one of Dwight's greatest strengths and part of why he's an important resource for Portland fans.

A key quote:

What I perceive with the referees is a culture change that may not be repaired until many of the current refs retire. A lot of the veteran referees spent many years in the league as basketball's version of the Lone Ranger. They roamed the country meting out their own forms of justice, largely as they pleased. There was little evaluation, and many of them thought of themselves as larger than the law.

And now that someone is trying to tell them how to do their job, they're very uncomfortable.

Another:

But officials making certain calls because of a grudge against a player or a team, yes -- I've seen it.

Officials so apparently in awe of a certain player they're reluctant to call a foul or violation on him? Seen it many times.

Referees with obvious feuds going on against certain players or teams? Darned right. You've seen it, too, if you've watched the league for any time at all.

I don't think the league, until recently, realized how much this affected its fan base. This sort of game-to-game bias, as much as any other thing, has turned millions of fans away from the league. I hear it constantly from disenchanted NBA fans.

The thing about that last part is, if the league office is really surprised that the NBA fan base is convinced the refs are biased towards stars and marquee teams and against young players and players with argumentative histories then everybody in the office--up to and including Commissioner Stern--should be forced to sit in the stands for 2-3 years and read every NBA blog in publication for that same span.  How could they be that far removed from the people who actually watch (and pay for) their product?  In any company I ran such a revelation of blatant Ivory Tower syndrome would mean heads rolling.  Go be out of touch with somebody else's customers.  I sincerely hope Dwight is wrong about that.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)