Inteview with Memphis Appeal

Ron Higgins asked some good questions , so I thought I would post the questions and answers here.

> Just a few questions about it.
> 1. What finally prompted you to do this?

Despite best intentions of most media, they don’t have the space, inclination or knowledge to write in-depth on many different subjects. When those subjects are important to me, I want an outlet that wasn’t space or time constrained to give an indepth pespective.

It also is the best forum to share publicly information I have no other way to disseminate, such as personal experiences, or rebuttals to Jayson Blair practicioners of journalism like Sam Smith of the chitribune.

Or, I can post this entire email exchange and then watch and see what is actually written.

> 2. I know time and money is no question for you, so who tracks
> the officiating? Does a guy lock himself in a room and study tapes of
> every game?

No, we have the play by plays run through a computer and it dissects each play and call

> 3. Do you think it will have any effect on improvingofficiating?

I don’t know if the blog will at theNBA level, but based on the responses I have gotten from officials at other levels, it sure has sparked discussionparticularly the piece asking if refs cheat.

> 4. Does the league need to be more publicly accoutable for its officiating, such as beingavailable after games to the media or specified media reps?

If you are good at your job than transparency reinforces the quality of your work. People congratulate you on a job well done, all involved learn from mistakes.

Lack of transparency breeds questions of integrity and approach. As a result we get “conventional wisdom” inside the league about things like respect. What cracks me up is when someone says they didn’t get respect because he isn’t an all star or is a rookie, or got respect because he is. That’s the equivalent of saying, “we all agree that officials are biased and basically cheat.”

The league never fines anyone for talking about respect from officials, nor do they deny it. Is it real…only the shadow knows for sure.

Transparency solves that problem inside the league, for media and fans. The league should post their gradings of each game if not after the game, than at least after the season. Then we could quantify “if it all evens out” in the end.

Transparency also allows the officials to be more fairly evaluated. Right now teams evaluate all the officials at the end of the year. We have to apply judgement to a ref we might have only seen 3x in a year, the last of which was 4 months ago. The league expects us to do it from memory. Team evals apply to how much the officials get paid.. What premium assignments they get.

We have asked and offered to do evaluations online after each game, the league has refused. That’s not fair to refs that may not be as visible or public as others. And it also means that teams that we have talked to don’t take the evals all that seriously with many having assistants fill out the evaluations in a quick sitting.

Transparency goes to the heart of better information so that teams can do a better job understanding the impact of officiating on the game, teams can do abetter job of evaluating officials so they are rewarded for a good job, and fans better understand and appreciate officials

Hope this helps, I will post this on my blog, since they are great questions.