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The Loop

Robot Refs

No hyperbole, this is the softest ejection in the history of American sport

January 06, 2022

While the NBA has become a far better product today than it was in the 1980s and 1990s (grab those pitchforks, old heads), it's also become increasingly soft. Every graze on the arm is a foul, every naughty word is a technical. People mock the older generation for saying things like "back in my day, you couldn't enter the paint without being torn from limb from limb! SOFT LEAGUE!" Truth is, they are usually right.

Look no further than what occurred in Wednesday night's Portland Trail Blazers-Miami Heat game. In the second half, Heat point guard Kyle Lowry was ejected for ... well, we still have no earthly idea, nor does anyone who has watched the video multiple times. It appears that Lowry lightly underhand-tosses the ball to the ref, who was so appalled by this seemingly innocuous action that he sent Lowry packing. True story:

Go ahead, watch it a few more times and see if you can figure it out. We'll wait. 

Yep, still nothing. Best guess is the ref wasn't ready for the pass, and his feeble brain thought that meant Lowry was purposely throwing it at him to catch him off guard. If there's a more 2022 sentence than "ref felt like player was being a big meanie and we have to respect those feelings" I've yet to find it. 

Lowry got his money's worth on the way out, however:

Oh boy. 15-game suspension, plus a bar of soap in Lowry's mouth, incoming.