NBA commissioner Adam Silver knows a thing or two about the conspiracy theories that shroud the officiating in his league's games. Some may have some validity to them, but most are fiction of disgruntled fans' imagination.
Part of the NBA commissioner's duty is to debunk these rumors and conspiracy theories—no matter how silly—and maintain the integrity of the game in the public eye. In an interview with ESPN's Ramona Shelbourne and Michelle Beadle on Sunday, Silver spoke extensively about his controversial decision, at least among Thunder fans, to not suspend star Warriors forward/center Draymond Green for kicking Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams in the crotch during Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals.
I hear it and it's the most sensitive issue for me and it goes to the core integrity of the league and frankly to my integrity. All I can say is we do the best we can - I acknowledge that was a close decision on upgrading Draymond's kick to a flagrant-2. Ultimately we made a decision that he did not intentionally try to kick (Adams) in the groin.
Instead of being suspended, Green was ultimately issued a $25,000 fine for his foul on Adams, which was upgraded from a flagrant-1 to a flagrant-2.
Blown calls are part of the game and Silver agrees that "human error" is simply part of officiating. "There's no doubt that human error is a part of this game," Silver said. "What the best you can hope for is the fans believing in the integrity of the officials, and that no one has a finger on the scale."
Silver also skirted away from talking about Kevin Durant's prediction that the NBA would not suspend Green. Despite the fact that Cleveland Cavaliers guard Dahntay Jones was forced to miss one game for injuring Raptors' center Bismack Biyombo in a similar way during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Durant said the NBA wouldn't suspend Green because of the league's "pro-business" approach when it comes to handling superstar players in high-profile games.
Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy made a similar claim that because "LeBron is LeBron" he won't get called for offensive fouls during the playoffs.
Silver addressed and refuted all these claims.
I've been around the league long enough that I hear these conspiracy theories every year - that's not unique to this year - and I'll say in the case of Oklahoma City, that they have two players on that team who are global superstars.
One of the points I've made consistently since we negotiated the last collective bargaining agreement, and when you throw social media into the mix, is that players can be located anywhere these days and be superstars, that the difference in market size is not significant when we're talking about a global market.
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