Tuesday, Feb 25, 2020
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Basketball officials calling for respect

On the eve of two significant national basketball championships, the Bahamas National High School Basketball Championships and the Bahamas Basketball Federation’s (BBF) Commonwealth Championships, and with the staging of a number of local championships, the New Providence Association of Basketball Officials (NPABO) is calling for respect and deference to its members across the board.

“The atmosphere as presently exists is demeaning, threatening and outrightly unsafe,” said NPABO Vice President Sharon Storr in a press release. “With some 30 years’ experience as a backdrop, this is the most disrespectful and ill-mannered period witnessed in basketball in this country, coming from players, coaches, fans and basketball administrators alike. It has come to the fore that an official was physically attacked recently, and another was literally chased out of an arena both in the same association. In the former case, it is understood it is currently a court matter, thus will not be discussed further; however, in the latter situation, it has been reliably reported that a slap-on-the-wrist fine was imposed.”

The association is asking what has become of discipline and incorporation of the “letter of the law”. Storr said that the treatment of officials is stooping to a deplorable level in this country.

“Moreover, aggressive accosting and in-your-face confrontations following games have become the norm, fashionable and common practice. With this widespread trend, God forbid someone being seriously injured or extensive damage to belongings,” he said through the release. “Referees will make mistakes, after all we are only human. Officials expect disagreements, because of partisanship; we understand that there will be differences and are aware that we will be called ill-begotten names and our families talked about, all because of the nature of the game. What is not understood is downright rude behavior, especially coming from players and coaches, and, having to be overly concerned for personal and property safety after contests. We are simply seeking civility.”

Storr added that in this age of social media and exposure to television where “everyone is an expert in the game”, combined with the across the board community discord, there remains certain unsavory actions and conducts that are totally unacceptable.

“The wards and stakeholders of the sport of basketball are called upon to send a clear message that there is absolutely no place for the existing negativity that surrounds the game to abound,” he said. “The Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) is implored to provide as much protection as possible in/at venues in The Bahamas. There simply is no room for unbecoming attitude and boorish behavior from anyone associated with our beloved sport.”

NPABO officials are tasked with officiating the game of basketball at all sanctioned basketball games under the scope of the Bahamas Basketball Federation.

The 4th Bahamas National High School Basketball Championships is set for this coming weekend, March 28 to April 1, at the St. George’s and Jack Hayward Gymnasiums in Freeport, Grand Bahama. The NPBA Championships are currently ongoing over at the A.F. Adderley Gymnasium, and the BBF Commonwealth Championships will be held in April.

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