Golden State Warriors guard Shaun Livingston was suspended by the NBA for one game after getting into an altercation with referee Courtney Kirkland. However, the ref was also banned for one week.
With 6.24 remaining in the second quarter of the Warriors game against Miami, which they ended up winning 123-95, the pair got into a brief altercation. Despite this, the referee took shared responsibility for the bust-up.
The sanction came at a time when 32-year-old Livingston was impressing for the Warriors. Having already played 22 games, he had been averaging 4.7 points and two assists per game. In his fourth year, Livingston has proven to be a crucial figure in the Warriors’ NBA challenges in recent times.
Basketball is notoriously a sport full of screamers. The players are screaming at the referees, fans are screaming at the players, and the coaches are screaming at everybody. But when one particular altercation happened between Golden State guard Shaun Livingston and referee Courtney Kirkland, things went a little too far.
Livingston was suspended for one game after acting inappropriately towards the ref. The sanction was deemed justified this behavior is simply not allowed in the sport. However, what made the case even more interesting was the NBA suspended Kirkland too. But why?
“We regret the recent incident between Courtney Kirkland and Shaun Livingston,” the National Basketball Referees Association wrote in a statement. “The NBRA has reached out to the National Basketball Players Association to explore ways to improve on-court communications and civility.”
Ideally, referees are there to defuse the heated moments and not to make matters worse. Unfortunately, Kirkland did the latter. And although Kirkland wasn’t violent in any shape or form, he didn’t back away from Livingston’s advances.
“Both the official and the player were part of it,” Steve Kerr said. Livingston missed the following game against the Pelicans in New Orleans, while Kirkland was scheduled to return to his job on December 11th.