Kevin Garnett’s foul reveals late game foul logic
Naturally, there was a huge outcry following the offensive foul called on Kevin Garnett that cost the Boston Celtics a chance to tie the game very late in the 4th quarter. Garnett was clearly moving on the off-ball screen but the call was deemed wrong by many, including the likes of Pardon the Interruption’s Mike Wilbon, because of the situation during which the foul occurred.
Apparently, if there are 10 seconds left in the 4th quarter, offensive fouls of this sort are not supposed to be called. The fact that it is uncommon for a moving screen to be called during crunch time justifiably warrants some criticism. It’s like the lane violation that was called during this year’s March Madness that cost the Notre Dame fighting Irish an opportunity to move onto the next round. It doesn’t seem right.
Following the game, Celtics coach Doc Rivers did not deny that Garnett committed a foul. Rather, he pointed to the, supposedly, numerous similar offensive fouls that went uncalled throughout the game. A valid argument.
However, the anger surrounding the Garnett call illustrates a major flaw in our way of thinking. It is the logic across many sports that has more holes in it than a 6-year-old soccer team’s defense. Why humans feel that the rule book should become more lenient as a game moves into its latter and more stressful stages is baffling.
A foul should be a foul no matter what the circumstances may be.
The rule book is there for a reason. It isn’t meant to be enforced only when it so pleases us.
Fans don’t want referees deciding the games but by choosing not to make certain calls they are doing more to affect the game than they ever could if they called the game the way it was designed to be called. A referee making calls in tight, late games does not necessarily mean that they are doing more to determine the outcome of the game than the players.
It goes both ways. Paul Pierce did not get the opportunity to shoot the game tying 3-pointer. On the other hand, if Garnett had not been whistled for blocking much like a good right tackle, Andre Iguodala would have been caught up in the “screen,” unable to come close to challenging the Pierce attempt. Either way, someone gets the short straw. The question is, who deserves it?
Sports society has been brainwashed into believing that there should be 2 different rule books (actually 3 considering that stars are nonsensically assumed to get more calls. But that’s a story for another day). 1 rule book for most of the game and 1 rule book for crunch time. This is the way things are done so we accept the unacceptable. Wouldn’t you like it if your boss was more lenient to you on Fridays?
Life doesn’t work the way. Sports shouldn’t either.
The NHL is the biggest culprit of all the major North American professional sports. The 3rd and overtime periods are an anarchist’s dreams. They tried to change that post-lockout but the 2 rule book mentality is too deeply engrained in sports. The referees have reverted back to their old ways. Not a shocker there. They can’t help themselves.
The referees got the call right in Boston on Monday evening.
I mentioned that Doc Rivers citing the inconsistency of the referees is a point not without merit. The players need to know what they are allowed to do out on the floor. That can’t change from quarter to quarter.
Unfortunately, the legitimacy of Doc’s argument also demonstrates another error in our logic.
Consistency is a large part of being a first-rate referee. In spite of this, consistency is often times given too much worth. People will take consistency no matter what the referee’s interpretation of the rules are. Any way you slice it, it is wrong to think that an MLB umpire giving 3 inches off the plate is alright as long as he is unwavering with his strike zone.
Judging by Doc Rivers’ argument, it would appear as though he would be fine with a moving screen off the ball going uncalled for either team as long as it goes uncalled for the entire game.
Again, the rule book is there for a reason. For some odd reason though, consistency trumps all. Variations and bending of the rules is fine if it is consistent.
Consistency is good. But it should be consistency by the book.
It’s the acceptance of these senseless reasoning’s constructed upon foundations as solid as an Elizabeth Taylor marriage that bothers me most. A change in philosophy should come but that is highly doubtful.
Kevin Garnett’s foul expectedly stirred up a lot of controversy.
Too bad it was for all the wrong reasons.
Chris is a writer on Comedic Prose, and he also is the editor of Painting the Black.