The NBA had a chance to stick up for its officials by taking action against the Warriors, but instead they let the players off with a slap on the wrist.
The fact that the NBA is a players league really isn’t a secret to anyone. However, league officials had a golden opportunity to back its referees by taking decisive action against the Golden State Warriors after their disrespect of official Marat Kogut on Friday might’s loss to the Timberwolves. Instead, the NBA opted to let the Warriors players off with a financial slap on the wrist.
Stephen Curry will pay for pointing his finger in Kogut’s face and his criticism of the officials post-game with a fine of just $25,000. That’s chump change for a player of Curry’s caliber. The same goes for the $35,000 fine levied against Draymond Green and $15,000 penalty assessed to Kevin Durant. It’s highly unlikely any of the trio will miss that money.
According to coach Steve Kerr, none of his players were surprised to learn about their fines. He told local reporters that each guy “knew what was coming.” That only reinforces the idea that no one on the Warriors roster is bothered by what happened in Minnesota.
The truth is this wasn’t just an ordinary occasion of players expressing their frustration with officials. That kind of thing can happen every night of the NBA season. What occurred in Minnesota was different. It deserved to be treated as such by the league.
In particular, the idea that Curry was permitted to run past an official while pointing at him and openly mocking him without getting suspended is ludicrous. He’s one of the NBA’s biggest stars due to his on-court talents but that also means more should be expected from him in terms of conduct. Like it or not, Curry is a role model for countless children across the country. The way he behaved on Friday sent a very poor message to those kids who idolize him.
The right thing for the NBA to do would have been to levy a modest suspension against Curry. That would have cost him several game checks and hurt his team on the court. $25,000 doesn’t mean anything to the talented point guard. Forcing him to let his teammates down for multiple games would have caused him to think twice about the way he treats officials moving forward.
In the end, the NBA was happy to levy three meaningless fines and let this story disappear from the news cycle. They should have done more to protect their officials and demand better behavior from their superstars.