HOUSTON — Rockets guard Chris Paul added his voice to the chorus of NBA players who have expressed frustration regarding the friction with referees, singling out veteran official Scott Foster for seeking the spotlight.
“Yeah, Scott Foster at his finest,” Paul said. “You know what I mean? He just never fails.
“Some of them, you can [communicate] with. You’ve just gotta figure out who you can and you can’t. I got a tech tonight. I’m over there with [referee Courtney Kirkland] saying, ‘That’s Scott, that’s Scott,’ and I got a tech. That’s history there. He the man. That’s who they pay to see.”
Foster, who has 24 seasons of NBA experience, was voted as the league’s worst referee in a 2016 survey of players and coaches conducted by the Los Angeles Times.
The comments by Paul, the president of the NBA’s players’ association, come days after Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green told The Athletic that personal issues between referees and players are “ruining the league.”
Green, who suggested that the league get “a whole new crop” of referees, was fined $25,000 by the league office for public criticism of officiating. Green has been called for a league-high 11 technical fouls this season, five away from an automatic one-game suspension.
Paul ranks eighth in the league with six technical fouls. Paul said he isn’t concerned about putting himself in jeopardy of a suspension, but he considers the quick whistles an issue that needs to be addressed.
“Man, you’ve just got to hope there’s a system in place, just making sure they get checked just as much as we do,” Paul said. “Even some of those double techs that they call, it’s really quickly and stuff like that. That’s $2,500 every time a tech’s called on a player.”
Paul said he expects to participate in a meeting during All-Star Weekend about the tension between referees and players.
“We’re going to figure it out,” Paul said. “There’s got to be a way that we have dialogue and stuff like that. I don’t know, good ol’ Scott Foster, though. That guy …”