Tuesday , Apr , 17 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Stern and NBA partly at fault for Crawford/Duncan incident.

Today, the NBA doled a technical foul to one of their own, suspending referee Joey Crawford for his blow-up with superstar Tim Duncan. But in shifting the blame solely to Crawford, Commissioner Stern and the NBA conveniently overlooked their own role in the incident.

I agree. The NBA, specifically Commissioner Stern, got it right by suspending referee Joey Crawford for his confrontation with San Antonio star .

I haven’t agreed with many of the royal decrees coming from NBA head office. I hated the fines for long shorts. I hated the age limit that restricted high school players. And I thought the dress code was hypocritical.

This year’s plastic ball was a joke. But the suits at head office were bang on in dispensing ‘stern’ justice against Crawford.

Unfortunately, the NBA is partially responsible for Crawford’s antics. Yes, the NBA should assume some of the blame for last Sunday’s blow-up.

Last October, the NBA wanted to stop players from protesting referee’s calls. So they instituted a no tolerance policy. Refs were encouraged to give players technical fouls for minor infractions.

There was already a problem with Crawford being too quick in dispensing technical fouls. But Crawford probably saw the no tolerance policy as a confirmation of what he was already doing.

The no tolerance policy also furthered the confrontational environment that exists between players and refs.

So one the one hand, Sunday’s incident occured because Crawford and Duncan have a poor personal relationship. And on the other hand, it occurred because a poor dynamic exists between players and refs as a whole-something the NBA has contributed to and should be accountable for.

Commissioner Stern was correct in suspending Crawford. Now he needs to look in the mirror.

Who do you think is to blame for the incident between Duncan and Crawford? Enter your comments in the box below. Read Oly Sandor’s NBA blog at www.nbablog.hoopsvibe.com