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A Wheeler's Opinion: "Wired" PBA Referees Will Work. And Not

This initiative from Commissioner Chito Narvasa can discourage rants. But...

TNT Coach Nash Racela and other coaches who hate the calls of the referees should consider themselves warned. 

In any game of basketball at any given league, trash-talking between players of opposing teams and, coaches against the officials, is basically a normal thing especially in heated games like do-or-die situations. While trash-talking your opponents is one tactic being employed by players like Calvin Abueva or even Kevin Ferrer to distract the opposing team's best scorer, there are multiple occasions when too much trash-talking and other Abueva-like antics, escalate into more serious scenarios like the recent one when Glen Rice Jr. pushed down Kevin Ferrer and almost hit the latter's face with the ball. The result of the fiasco was: the import of Talk N Text KaTropa was ejected and the KaTropa lost their semifinal series against the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings. Furthermore, Rice Jr. was fined by his own team after what the team thought was a breach of the contract.

We all know that referees are always prone to receive insults from players and coaches and yes, they are still human beings who commit mistakes when making the calls during games. 

While there hasn't any known incident, at least in the PBA during the past years when referees were physically assaulted like the most recent in the NBA when Stephen Curry threw his mouthpiece towards a game official, there were multiple when coaches, most especially the fiercest ones, would engage themselves in a heated exchange of words with the referees, even chasing the latter to the other side of the court. While technical fouls and ejections can be thrown upon the coaches, some coaches wouldn't stop themselves from doing so especially when the game is on the line, right, Nash Racela?

To at least, lessen the rants that referees receive on regular basis, our good PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa has announced that the PBA is planning to weaponize PBA referees with lapel microphones which the PBA can use in case it needs to review certain conversation between players or coaches with the referees.

Now, if this plan pushes through, the PBA will now have the technology to pinpoint if any of the player or coach uses foul language against the referees to assess the appropriate penalties deemed necessary to the actions of the person involved. While this is a good plan because the referees nowadays are the subject of the hatred of some fans, this plan of our good PBA commissioner can be looked at two ways:

It will Discourage Unnecessary Rants

With the PBA having the ways to track down referee haters whether it's a player or a head coach of a powerhouse team, some coaches and players will want to think twice before unleashing their inner tiger towards the refs especially when calls aren't going their ways. 


Aside from possible technical fouls and ejections that the referees themselves can assess, the PBA can review the conversation between involved parties and if the PBA finds it necessary, they can ask the involved player or coach to pay certain amounts as a fine for their unnecessary actions or worse, they can suspend anyone. Either way, it can hurt anyone's pocket given the fact that the PBA, if you have been watching the league this season alone, has been assessing tons of fines to players to discipline them. 

Nope. It will Not Stop the Hatred Towards Ugly Calls

One has to accept the fact that even with the presence of the lapel microphones on referees, if coaches and players see an ugly call from the refs from the former's perspective, the lapel microphones won't stop the mind and the mouths- not to mention, the impending fines and other penalties, from throwing those tantrums.

Sure, the lapel microphones are good tools for reviewing conversations but they will not totally erase the problem of rants from coaches and players. 


The good PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa will only do what he thinks will be for the good of the PBA and if he thinks weaponizing referees with reviewable lapel microphones will limit the usage of foul language because first and foremost, thousands of children are watching the PBA, too and seeing players and coaches who occasionally use foul language against referees is not good for these kids- then the PBA should push through. But again, that won't stop the likes of Yeng Guiao from bashing the refs, either. 

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