The OKC Thunder snapped a four game winning streak last night courtesy of the Memphis Grizzlies. But, that wasn’t the most memorable part of the game. Thunder superstar and early season MVP front runner Russell Westbrook was ejected after receiving two technical fouls in the third quarter. Following the game, Russ expressed his frustration with the officiating and what he sees as unfair treatment. In comments to the AP, Russ said:
Honestly, it’s crazy, man, especially to be ejected when I didn’t do nothing. It was just crazy, especially for me because I don’t feel I get the benefit of the doubt most of the time, especially throughout the game, with the refs.
Players griping over calls is nothing new in the NBA. Though Russ may hear from Adam Silver on this. What’s interesting is Russ’ belief that he does not get the benefit of the doubt. A quick review of Russ’ per game stats say he attempts just under 11 free throws per game (10.8). That’s number one in the league. He does initiate a lot of contact and the refs could call a foul on every play. But by and large I am a believer that the contact players like he, Harden, and LeBron initiate balances out between the amount of times they are actually fouled. More often than not, the star players get the benefit of the doubt.
Russ continued his comments on the way he is officiated:
I get so many techs just for talking. I can’t even say nothing when I’m getting hammered every time I go to the damn basket through the games and previous games. Not tonight, but every night. I just don’t get reffed the same way as other people, and I don’t appreciate it.
Here is where Russ went wrong. Superstar players are given more leeway than the average player to gripe and get animated with the officials on bad calls. But in this instance Russ wasn’t just talking. He belabored the point and there were continued obscenities directed at the official. That is usually where they tend to draw the line. Officials will let some expletives go, but if you continue on them, they will react.
See video of Russ getting ejected and his postgame comments, courtesy of Fred Katz of the Norman Transcript.