Sunday 7 January 2018

Charge of the League Brigade

Never let labor-adverse ass lickers, let alone the latent or loyally bigoted, use labor's level of compensation to curry disfavor in their disputes. If the laborer is a multimillionaire, he or she may be judged according to your private principles in private but this should not pertain materially to the mediation of contested contractual obligations.

The in real-time adjudicators of professional sports competition labor under pressure of great scrutiny. One might say that the subjects of the object that they scrutinize under this scrutiny, the athletes, are under even more pressure of scrutiny, being as they are at the center of considered surveillance whenever they are on the job, but also when they attempt to live a private life with the public eye always at their periphery. Plus, the amount of time the athlete must spend in intense labor just to maintain the ability to fulfil the implications of their contractual obligations goes well beyond the time spent to prepare to referee their contests fairly, for which, it is frequently argued, they are provided more than adequate recompense. When, however, one makes this latter consideration, one should consider as well the future physical & mental condition of the retired athlete, the costs of surgeries and longterm treatment and other care, and the probability of suicide or other sudden death or debilitating disease.

Still, referees labor and deserve to do so under humane conditions. I can imagine that the constant pressure of having to make snap judgements is not in the least ameliorated by an also constant complaint system that takes the form of emotional confrontation. Think of all the other jobs — maybe you've had or still have just such a one — where you are or have been reprimanded in public. Maybe you were a cashier with a line forming outside the bounds of entitled customer sensibilities. Now imagine that your profession is a running pariah of mass mockery and sentiment, not unlike, say, the post office. Now add to that that it's not only always Christmas (counting the associated wars for & against it (and for & against those (onward))), and you are not only blatantly berated, but by someone with thousands of fans cheering all around you.

Of course, the paying proprietors of these referees are subject to their occasional contractual renegotiations just as team owners have to haggle with their players. It is, one would think, in the interest of the sporting league in question to have as fair & competent floor- or field arbitration as possible. At least seemingly so.

I refer here to the National Basketball Association. My preference for the sport has led to more familiarity (I gave up ever even looking at a football score when I realized the sport is a barbaric immorality I can't countenance and which as it is played is a very violation of even the most enthusiastically willing laborer's human rights such that it amounts to a war crime) and the subject of a burdgeoning contentious animosity between the two labor groups in question has arisen this season, which has led to the observation that it is having an adverse effect on the positive quality of the entertainment itself.

It really has gotten to the point in the NBA where one expects the player to complain demonstrably about every foul called against him as well as wail every time he misses or makes a shot that he was fouled in the process. On the other hand, one would not be surprised to see a referee calling a technical foul on a player for scowling in the wrong direction. What is a surprise is that, during the course of this season, players at the top of league's pecking order — whose proficiency at the art of the game is such that they have received the benefit of the doubt of the referee's whistle, such that it is acknowledged by moderators tasked with framing the games being broadcast — have been t'd up and even ejected from games to the apparent disapproval of the same broadcasters. The appearance is that of a long annoyed referee class having been let off the league's leash and enabled to quick trigger even players most proficient at selling the league's merchandised apparel.

Before I spell out my plan at how to fix repair this system, it'd be remiss of me not to quickly point out that if the league doesn't want to fix repair the system, if, for instance, the occasional observable contentiousness between these laborers and the broadcast commentary surrounding it are part of the grand kayfabe, well, then all, uh, bets are off. If one nevertheless would like to see this system smoothed over for transparency's sake either way, I suggest the following for its expedience — for it is as efficient as it is apt:

For every no-call a player perceives, he should register it as soon as he is able, at which point it will be tallied by an additional scorer at the scorer's table just for this purpose. Also registered will be whenever a player contests a foul that is called. These registrations should take a form as simple as the way referees make their calls, but without the whistle or need to disrupt play in progress.

At the conclusion of the day's games, the league will review every game as they do now, but with the inclusion of all registered no-call complaints and contested calls from the players, after which litigation the players are put on a leader board much like they are for scoring & other statistical accomplishments. Those players who are borne out to be correct most often and/or most efficiently can receive recognition accordingly — with the actual footage used to make the arbitration being made available for public scrutiny.

Every player complaint made outside the purview of a simple audible registration to the scorers table will be assessed a technical foul on the court, which likewise, of course, can be registered for appeal to the scorer's table and subject to the same league review whereupon the technical foul can be rescinded, or the player fined a fixed decided upon amount. All rescinded techs, however, should result in a similar financial fine assessed to the offending referee, an appropriately adjusted amount based on the offender's pay scale.

The context of the contest in question: