Doc Rivers Unjustly Fined $25,000 for Criticizing Referee
Doc Rivers was fined $25,000 by the league for criticizing a referee following his team's loss to the Bulls on Tuesday. Normally, when a coach goes after an official in his post-game comments, the fine is automatic and it's deserved. Not this time, however, and the league admitted as much when they issued a fine to the referee for his role in the incident as well.
Here's Rivers' description of how he picked up that second technical foul, as told to the Associated Press:
"[Kennedy] stood there and goaded me and goaded me and goaded me and stared at me," Rivers said. "Look at the film. I actually walked away. He asked me, 'Where do you want the ball?' And I said, 'Ask them,' talking about our players. That's my right to say that, and I walked away. He stood there and stared me down and stared me down and goaded me until I turned around and said, 'What?' That's when I got thrown out of the game."
Obviously, the league agreed the ejection was bogus, otherwise they wouldn't have fined the referee for his involvement in it, right? So why in the world is Rivers getting fined here? It doesn't make any sense.
The league, I'm sure, is simply sticking to its hard and fast rule of automatically fining any coach that uses his post-game presser to criticize the officials. But in this case, it's completely unjustified, especially when they've admitted as much by disciplining the referee that Rivers was criticizing in the first place.
UPDATE: Referees' union has weighed in, predictably in support of its guy.