Just because you’re the owner of a sports team, this doesn’t make you an expert on the subject. There have been plenty of examples of individuals with extremely deep pockets who would go on to buy sports organizations, but Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban can’t seem to understand that he doesn’t have to try to call all the shots.
After millions of dollars in fines by the NBA, he still finds himself in hot water from time to time, and could soon be handed yet another bill for not being able to control himself.
This past Saturday, the Mavs took on the Atlanta Hawks in a game that wound up with a lot of controversy stemming from a single call made by a ref with just seconds left in the game. The call, and resulting confusion, didn’t sit well with Cuban, and he made his opinions known on social media. The NBA never likes it when anyone connected to the organization calls it out, and the boisterous owner’s latest attack is now being reviewed by the league to determine what disciplinary action, if any, is warranted.
The controversy from Saturday’s game centers on Hawks forward John Collins and a putback. A ref on the officiating crew had called what he thought was goaltending with 8.4 seconds left in the game, but a review overturned the decision. As a result, the basket was good, and the Hawks then had a four-point advantage.
Cuban wasn’t happy with the call, saying on Twitter after the game, “So they call a goaltend. They literally blew the whistle that it was a goaltend. There was a putback after the whistle. After review they said no goaltend but count the basket? WTF is that? That’s NBA officiating.”
He added in a subsequent tweet, “But wait there is more. 1 of the refs told us it was an inadvertent whistle, so it was not goaltending. Doesn’t matter that people stopped. They thought the whistle came after the put-back. So the basket counted. So what where they reviewing if it wasn’t a goaltend?”
Cuban has had to pay $2 million in fines because of his interference and negative comments against the league. He could see yet another payout coming, especially since he went onto the court during two dead-ball situations as the clock was entering the last few minutes of the game.
Even for a billionaire like Cuban, million-dollar fines have to hurt. He was forced to shell out $10 million for charity two years ago when it was discovered that a former CEO of the team had a long history – about 20 years – of sexual misconduct and harassment while Cuban was at the helm.
The Mavericks have filed a protest over the way the game was officiated and want it to be replayed, at least from the spot of the bad call. The NBA is reviewing the request and, per league rules, has five days following the submission of evidence from both teams, which is also given five days, to decide on the outcome.
Chances of Cuban winning this battle are slim to none. Crew chief Rodney Mott tried to break down the call as best he could after the game had ended, stating, “The ball was blocked and reviewed,” Mott told a pool reporter. “The ball hit the rim, so it was deemed an inadvertent whistle because it was ruled a good block. By rule, it’s an inadvertent whistle. It’s Rule 2. Because [Collins] was in his shooting motion when my whistle blew, it’s deemed a continuation, so therefore, the basket counts.”
That argument didn’t satisfy Cuban. He sees the issue as being much larger than a single call, and poured fuel on his argumentative fire by adding on Twitter, “Refs have bad games. Crews have bad games. But this isn’t a single game issue. This is the same s— that has been going on for 20 years. Hire former refs who think they know how to hire, train and manage. Realize 2 years later they can’t. Repeat.”j
This is the second time that the Hawks have been involved in a possible replay. In 2007, the team was taking on the Miami Heat and won in overtime. However, it was determined later that the official scorekeeper had messed up, ruling that Shaquille O’Neal had fouled out. That forced the two teams to replay the final 51.9 seconds of the game, which they did in March the following year. The Hawks ended up winning the regularly scheduled game on March 8, as well as the replay.