CRAWFORD BLOG | NBRA calls for suspension of Harrell after he shoves ref to the ground
Former University of Louisville star Montrezl Harrell finds himself under fire from the National Basketball Referees Association after he shoved a ref to the ground following an NBDL game on Saturday.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — It’s not the kind of video you want out there. It’s not the kind of look you want to project.
On Saturday night, at the end of an NBA Developmental League game, Montrezl Harrell of Rio Grande Valley was shoved by an opposing player, Derek Cooke Jr. When Harrell jumped back to retaliate, a video replay online shows that he pushed referee Jason Goldenberg in the chest with both hands in an effort to clear a path back to Cooke.
Goldenberg fell down, then quickly got to his feet and tried to sort the teams out, which appeared to happen very quickly.
Harrell’s shove, however, is not going to blow over so quickly.
On Monday night, the National Basketball Referees Association issued this statement via general counsel Lee Seham. It said:
“After carefully reviewing videotape and related evidence concerning this incident, we have reached the inescapable conclusion that Harrell committed a deliberate assault and battery against Referee Goldenberg. Anything less than a multiple game suspension would constitute a green light for violence against officials.”
I get it. His team had lost, some guy shoves him, he’s ticked off. But you have to have more self-control than that. From his days at the University of Louisville and before, Harrell has been known as a player who brings over-the-top passion to games. But at some point, it has to be reined in. You can’t put your hands on an official.
We haven’t heard Harrell’s side of the story yet. But it’s not likely to mitigate much of what the video shows. It may take Harrell a while to overcome this one angry moment. At the very least, this story figures to have more chapters than the immediate aftermath.
This is not an isolated thing. In January, a cross-check by Denis Wideman on an NHL linesman garnered headlines. In all levels of sports, actual physical attacks on game officials are increasingly common. Last fall, two Texas high school football players hit a defenseless official. The video of the play went viral, and sparked a national discussion.
“Heckling and verbal taunting have always been obstacles of the job, but intentional physical violence towards referees is escalating each year,” Seham said in a statement in January. “The increasing number of attacks indicate a lack of respect from players, coaches and spectators for the job that referees perform. There is an apparent shift from sportsmanship to a culture of impulsive aggression and bullying,” said Seham. “We call on sports management everywhere to enforce higher standards of sportsmanship and more civil behavior in sports competition.”
In that quest for civility, they deserve support.
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