Not much in sports irritates me more than people, mostly fans, who blame officiating for their teams losing. It’s a flimsy, lame excuse that helps soothe pain that comes with failure. But it’s also not a good sign when officials are lining up to admit one mistake after another.
NBA refs were forced to come clean twice in three days after botching the closing moments of the Raptors’ win over the Pacers in Game Seven over the weekend, then again after the Thunder beat the Spurs in Game Two on Monday. Both games could have gone the other way.
Officials are reluctant to make close calls late in games because they don’t want to determine the outcome. It’s a product of them listening to people who pleaded for players, not refs calling minor infractions, to decide which teams win or lose.
Yet by swallowing their whistles, which amounts to ignoring the rules and adhering to the spirit of the game, officials are determining the outcome just the same. The only difference is that complaints come from the opposite direction. People once furious over poor calls are now livid over poor non-calls.
Complaints are coming either way. Just get it right.