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Good Word with Goodwill - NBA refs have tough jobs, but they need to slow down

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Yahoo Sports senior NBA writer Vincent Goodwill shares his thoughts on the recent ejections of Cade Cunningham, Jimmy Butler and Grayson Allen — and explains what one change he’d like to see.

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

VINCENT GOODWILL: Let me start off by saying I appreciate the job and the difficulty of the job that NBA officials have to do. Calling the game, especially when you see it courtside, is one of the most difficult things that you can do. That being said, can we slow down on the quick-triggered ejections of star players?

The NBA League Office will tell you, no, it's not a stars league, and that officials have to ref every game and every player alike. Yeah, right. Tell that to your lying eyes and over 75 years of star calls and favoritism and everything else. And guess what? We like it.

And once again, the job that they have to do is very difficult. Case in point, Grayson Allen's flagrant two on Alex Caruso was rightfully caught. The officials were on top of that. They reviewed it, and they came up with the correct conclusion.

But Cade Cunningham pointing at his bench or pointing behind his bench after a dunk against Phoenix, resulting in an objection when he has no history of being belligerent to the officials, that's bad. Jimmy Butler telling an official to call the call and screaming out expletives, resulting in not one technical, but two in succession? One technical was fine. The second one, not so much.

The officials have to understand that they are not the show. And they do understand that. With social media and two-minute reports, they are under an inordinate amount of scrutiny. They check the tweets. They read the articles just like everybody else. But if you're not going to be part of the show, don't take the show away from the fans.

What the league will tell you is that they want the officials to maintain control, and that they don't want another Malice at the Palace, as if that once-in-a-lifetime event could ever happen again in this new wave of sports, because God forbid Black men start showing emotion. God forbid that an emotional game becomes emotional and tempers flare. These are grown men who know how to pull themselves behind the line, and don't need ejections or double technicals, which is basically the biggest cop-out in all of the NBA, to illustrate that point.

Maybe you call a delay of game. Maybe you blow the whistle, tell the player, hey, Cade, I'm not sure what you were doing there, but don't point again because it looked kind of fishy, or hey, Jimmy Butler, it stops now, because nobody benefits when star players are gone from the games, except for the referees, who feel like they can't maintain control.