Column: Officials should be consistent

E9: What you wouldn’t believe about sports.

Sam L. Jaime

Sam L. Jaime

Sam L. Jaime, Reporter

I should have come to this conclusion back in 2008 when Paul Pierce flopped to the floor and was literally carried off by teammates in an amount of pain that appeared to equate to a broken bone, only to return later in the game and be a decisive factor.

The delay of play as Pierce’s teammates carried him to the locker room (I guess the Celtics don’t have a training staff?) felt eternal as he milked every moment. It was laughable at best to hear and read people hailing this obvious acting job as any form of heart. You want heart? Try tearing your Achilles tendon, standing up, then limping to the line and sinking both free throws like Kobe.

It’s depressing to be able to compare the NBA to the WWE, but here we are. LeBron whines about everything, former referees openly say the game is tailored for entertainment rather than sport, and super-biased network coverage that for some reason is still trying to sell us on Carmelo Anthony.

I understand the value of the dollar to the league, and tend to support their general efforts of siphoning money out of my pockets in exchange for some team apparel and the less than occasional ticket, but when you impact the legacy of the game by allowing the distortion of regulations and tinker with outcomes, it becomes extortion.

Think about how many times you’ve heard a broadcaster say something along the lines of “Tonight the officials have said they are going to keep a close eye on contact” or my favorite, “They’re really letting them play tonight.” That should be a ringing bell in your head immediately. Is there no rulebook? Just call the game, and call it right. Don’t tell me what you are specifically looking for, do your job, don’t play favorites. There’s a difference between making the game entertainingly competitive and completely throwing objectivity out in favor of drawing a crowd or TV ratings.

I shudder to think how many thousands of games have been decided on a style of officiating rather than a level or style of play. How many careers could have ultimately been ranked differently if not for the handy work of a union of officials, the blind worship of a network, or the aloof façade the league itself hides behind? More alarming, how many cherished NBA records are completely meaningless now? No wonder the NBA Hall of Fame is a joke.

Think about all of those student athletes (maybe you are one), working tirelessly for hours every day in hopes of reaching that professional level. At every step along the way, they are taught to have respect for the game. Don’t get me wrong, it takes an immense amount of ability to make it, and the NBA is still an absolute showcase of the most talented basketball players on the planet, but why should any of that even matter when the integrity of the game is meaningless?

The payoff of an individual’s blood, sweat, and tears shouldn’t have any relation to hamming it up while faking an injury, or flopping to draw a foul call, especially during a series that is considered to be the pinnacle of achievement in your sport. I thought this was the pros, not the soaps.