Posted on Tue, Apr. 17, 2007
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NBA commissioner suspends referee indefinitely
Stern hands out stern penalty in aftermath of Crawford-Duncan incident
By Jeff Caplan
Stat-Telegram Staff Writer
If NBA referee Joey Crawford was looking for a fight with Spurs forward Tim Duncan, he instead got one from NBA commissioner David Stern on Tuesday.
Stern indefinitely suspended Crawford for improper conduct after hitting Duncan with two technical fouls and an ejection late in the third quarter as Duncan was laughing on the Spurs’ bench during Sunday's 91-86 Mavericks victory.
Crawford’s suspension will cover the rest of the regular season and the entire playoffs.
“Joey’s handling of this situation failed to meet the standards of professionalism and game management we expect of NBA referees,” Stern said in a statement released by the league early Tuesday afternoon. “Especially in light of similar prior acts by this official, a significant suspension is warranted. Although Joey is consistently rated as one of our top referees, he must be held accountable for his actions on the floor, and we will have further discussions with him following the season to be sure he understands his responsibilities.”
After the game, Duncan accused Crawford of having a vendetta against him and said that Crawford asked him during the game if he wanted to fight.
Stern was upset with Crawford’s assessment of the second technical foul and ejection following laughter by Duncan while seated on the bench and Craword's inappropriate comments to Duncan during the game.
Duncan said he complained about one play and that Crawford had egged him on during the game.
“He looked at me and said, ‘Do you want to fight? Do you want to fight?’” Duncan said after the game. “I didn’t say anything to him anyway. If he wants to fight, we can fight. I don’t have any problem with him, but we can do it if he wants to. I have no reason why in the middle of a game he would yell at me, ‘Do you want to fight?’ ”
Crawford said afterward that Duncan was incessantly complaining. He said that Duncan continued to laugh “behind our back” and continued to complain, “so I threw him out.”
Jeff Caplan, 817-390-7760