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Refereeing errors add to Qingdao’s woes and more frustration for McGrady

Post by Kenya Brown 

January 12, 2013

Chinese Basketball Association (CBA)

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The 2012-2013 Chinese Basketball Association season has not been a kind one to the Qingdao Double Star Eagles. After much hype and exceedingly high expectations after the signing of superstar Tracy McGrady, the last place Eagles are probably looking for this season to end as quickly as possible. With only two wins this season, the only thing the team is playing for now is pride.

Coming into last Wednesday night’s road encounter with seven-time champions, the Bayi Rockets, the Eagles were looking to snap a three-game losing streak to bring the team a much-needed confidence boost.

As in some of the Eagles games this season, they were behind but remained within a shot of pulling out a win. And late in the fourth quarter, down by three points, they had every chance of grinding out their third win of what has been a very long season for them.

However, it was not the players or their performances that the media focused on after the game. Instead, it was the officiating that was put in the spotlight.

The question of CBA referees making poor calls during close games is not a new subject as in previous seasons many have questioned their judgment. Most have even gone as far as to say that the calls are corrupt. However, there has never been any hard evidence to show that there are so-called “black whistles” within the league.

Turning back to the game in question, the major talking point focused on the officials’ non-call on a 24-second violation committed by the Rockets that allowed them to hit a three-pointer to extend their lead to six.

The final result: an in-game walk-off protest by the Eagles squad and a big egg left on the CBA’s face.

Yet, unlike other instances where controversial officiating is usually left unaddressed by the league, its coaches and its players, somebody stood up and called foul. Mai Di, or McGrady, vented his frustration for everyone to see on his Sina Weibo.

From Weibo:

January 9, 2013 at 23:32

CBA has to do a better job with these officials. My team plays hard every night and the 3 blind mice take it away from us!

January 9, 2012 at 23:36

This bad officiating has to change. No way I’m coming back if the officiating continues to be this errant.

While the league has come down hard on the officials (10 games for the lead official, 5 games a piece for the other ones) hit McGrady with a one-game suspension and a CNY 10,000 fine, and the Eagles CNY 100,000 fine, it also has to recognize that T-Mac made a very valid point about the officiating. Missed or phantom calls are what hinder what could be potentially exciting games that bring the fans out to the arenas.

Yet the league still has not found a solution to solving these problems like what happened Wednesday night.

However, there is a solution; and the CBA needs to look no further than their counterparts in the NBA.

Instant replay first came into use in the NBA during the 2002-2003 season and the league has not looked back ever since as it has gone on to expand its use to improve the quality of the game. The main point in using instant replay: it cuts down on the errors made by the officiating crew.

There is no doubt that referees are going to make mistakes in games, but the problem has gone on for far too long in the CBA. League officials will have to find a solution as soon as possible or they will face acts like fans throwing debris onto the courts like in previous seasons, or even worse, fans not turning out for games at all.

For the sake of the game, the CBA has to set things right with officiating and do whatever is possible to improve its quality.


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  1. Shark Fin Hoops Comment: On CBA Refereeing And Other Madness « Shark Fin Hoops - January 31, 2013

    […] the latest in a number of controversial incidents in the CBA involving officials. Tracy McGrady has already copped a one-game ban for calling a crew of three referees ‘blind mice’  after his Qingdao Eagles team staged a walk-off in protest at several bad calls against the Bayi […]

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