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Fired NBA Ref Invited to Replacement Training Camp

Sep 19, 2009 – 9:14 PM
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Brett Pollakoff

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Michael Henderson's 62 was worn by most NBA referees for a game in protest of his suspension back in 2004.With the NBA and the referees' union unable to come to an agreement, the league has scheduled a training camp to get replacement officials ready for the upcoming season.

This news is not particularly interesting. But one of the names on the invite list certainly is.

Michael Henderson was an official who was at the center of a controversy between the NBA and its referees' union back in 2004. Oh, and he was previously fired by the league. But guess what? Henderson's going to the training camp for replacement refs, which is set to begin in New York next Thursday.

The reason that Henderson was fired is unknown, but no matter what it was, it seems that the league is only opening itself up to more criticism about the quality of the replacement refs than it needs to by bringing him back.

Especially after you see the call that led to his eight-day suspension in 2004.

Yikes. If you ask me, all of the officials that night should have been fired for going with the jump ball resolution, instead of sticking with the original (yet horribly incorrect) shot clock violation call. I mean, that would have at least given the Nuggets possession of the ball, right? But I digress.

The NBA came out publicly against Henderson, and several referees staged a protest because of it by turning their jerseys inside out and writing Henderson's 62 on their backs.

(The league has issued statements about specific calls more recently too, and as I mentioned at the time, it's a terrible idea.)

Henderson probably isn't a bad guy, and sure, everyone deserves a second chance. But allowing officials who were fired by the league back into the game is only going to fuel the fans' ire at any bad calls, whether perceived or real, that are made against their team by the replacements.

It's a risk that that has virtually zero upside for the league, and it's one that the NBA simply doesn't need to take.
Filed under: Sports