Everything about the Washington Wizards in Monday’s preseason 124-121 overtime loss to the New York Knicks felt ill-prepared for the 2018-19 campaign, except for Markieff Morris’ distaste for officials.
In a game highlighted by 83 personal fouls and 90 free throws between the two teams, Morris rose to the top, earning two of the game’s five technical fouls over a span of eight seconds late in the second quarter and receiving the rare preseason ejection for barking in Knicks rookie Mitchell Robinson’s ear.
Morris and Robinson were both hit with technicals after meeting face to face in a mild scuffle with 3:53 left before halftime. Eight seconds later, Morris got his second tech — from the one official who was nowhere near the conversation — for jawing in Robinson’s ear before two more free-throw attempts.
Markieff Morris calls Mitchell Robinson ‘a stupid-ass rookie’
It seems Morris twins are mandated to tell reporters the absolutely truth after their many technical fouls and ejections, so Markieff naturally let the world know how he felt about Robinson, a promising second-round pick who caught the NBA’s attention with an impressive summer league performance.
Markieff Morris on his altercation with Mitchell Robinson and getting tossed: “This stupid-ass rookie talking too much. And obviously, I didn’t like what he said.”
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) October 2, 2018
The full quote, via The Athletic’s Fred Katz:
“He’s a stupid-ass rookie talking too much. Obviously, I didn’t like what he said. And the refs overplayed it, threw me out.”
Morris, of course, saw it differently. “Coach talked about it, and I respect that as a coach,” he said. “I’m supposed to be a bigger person, but what he said crossed the line as a man. And I wasn’t feeling it.”
What, exactly, did Robinson say to Morris? “I’m not gonna say,” the 29-year-old veteran told reporters. “It was bad enough for me to do what I did when it had nothing to do with the play.”
Morris manages to bash NBA and NFL officials at once
When he was done with Robinson, Morris took aim at officials — from both the NBA and NFL.
“It’s a man’s sport. You got to be able to touch another player. That’s how the game go,” a smiling Morris said, via The Washington Post’s Candace Buckner. “Just like football. They want to let the quarterbacks down, put a pillow under they head and call roughing the passer. It’s the same thing.”
Morris was not optimistic about player-referee relations
Poor player–referee relations became a hot topic last season, with players arguing that officials have too quick a trigger finger on technicals and officials suggesting that players doth protest too much. That resulted in a sparsely attended summit between members of both unions during the All-Star break in February and an ensuing five-prong plan aimed to improve dialogue between the two sides.
As part of that plan, NBA vice president of referee training and development Monty McCutchen met with all 30 teams to discuss the issues at hand. When asked by Buckner this past March what he got out of McCutchen’s meeting with the Wizards, Morris responded, “Nothing.” He added, “I still got a tech tonight so honestly, all of that just went in one ear and out the other. Because sometimes emotions get involved and guys just jumping the gun, but you know hopefully next year it’ll change though.”
So far, not so good.
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