How in the world does the following picture make sense…
Glen Davis receives a flagrant foul during a game against the Atlanta Hawks for a hard foul on Marvin Williams. Doc Rivers then argues the call, according to him without swearing at the refs even once, and is tossed out of the game. Later on, the NBA downgrades Davis’ flagrant foul to a personal foul, but not before fining Doc Rivers $25,000 for arguing precisely what the NBA would soon decide itself; the hit was no flagrant foul.
For Doc, the fine must have been at least as confusing as the call.
“They said I stayed out on the floor too long or whatever, which I didn’t do,” he told reporters. “I didn’t swear, [I just] kept saying, ‘It’s an awful call,’ so I’m perplexed by the fine. I was perplexed at the time and so I still am.”
But how can the NBA fine Rivers for arguing, when they later deemed the preface for his argument entirely correct?
Rivers says the league told him he failed to leave the court in a timely manner. He disagreed with the assessment, but watching the game Rivers certainly stayed on the court for a little while after receiving his second technical foul. Still, unless he stays on the floor for a longer, disruptive amount of time — and Rivers only lingered for a few seconds — how is that that the NBA front office fines somebody who didn’t even swear at the refs, and whose argument was backed by the league office itself?
In a league where outbursts are common and swear words are far more prevalent than assists, Doc Rivers is one of the remaining class acts. He’s always got a smile on his face, seems to be a genuinely good guy, and didn’t even swear despite being as mad as I’ve ever seen him. If I were Doc, I would have been out there sounding like KG in one of his fits of demonic rage:
[Beep] that! That’s a [beep]ing terrible call! How the [beep] can you mother [beep]ers sleep at night, knowing how [beep]ing badly you [beep]ing blew that one? That’s bull[beep] and you [beep]ing know it! [Beep] you!
But Doc refrained from using poor language, deciding simply to tell the referees what the league later admitted: To call Davis’ actions a flagrant foul was wrong. Apparently, telling referees the truth, and doing so in a fairly timid nature, is worth a $25,000 hit to your bank account.
So then, what do the Celtics get out of the downgrade? Not much. Glen Davis will be administered zero flagrant foul points instead of one (if a player gets five points, he is automatically suspended for a game) and, well, that’s about all the Celtics got out of the NBA’s belated change in course.
They still suffered a meltdown after the flagrant foul led to three technical fouls, four free throws for Atlanta, and a complete switch in momentum. They still had to endure 18:16 seconds of substitution-less basketball as Tom Thibodeau forgot he was in charge of subbing players in and out. They still lost a game in which they were coasting before the flagrant foul and its fallback led to a complete swing. They are still 0-3 against the Hawks, when it very easily could have been 1-2.
He’s still $25,000 poorer.