Expert answer:The evolution of the NBA and NFL


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Sports over time has changed, mainly professional sports. Professional sports tend to be in the spotlight
when it comes to rules and regulations. They are heavily critiqued in the eyes of the public and in the
eyes of the league officials. In many cases the public may come to odds with the league officials, for
example unfair play calls like the Jesse James catch and game 4 in the NBA finals last year. There are
many situations where the public will disagree to a certain call. Then there is always the job of the
official which is not easy mind you. I respect the profession and understand that there must be rules to
the game for the greater good. A point I would like to make is that we are all human in the end. Referees
are human they have preferences and personal issues just like any player or viewer.
In more recent events NBA players have been at odds with the referees. Draymond Green a
player for the Golden State Warriors proposed to change out the whole officiating staff in the league.
Over the past few years or even in the past year players in the NBA have been getting ejected for little
or no offense. Now don’t get me wrong there have been instances where players get out of hand but if
both these entities go at odds it may end up ruining the game for everyone. There are many personal
attacks amongst players and referees, Kevin Durant being the leader in one of the best teams in the NBA
is also leading in the game for technical fouls. Some may say the refs think that the players are just
multimillion dollar crybabies, but players might say that the refs are abusing their power. One could
suggest couples counseling for constant bickering. Now who is to blame, is it the refs? Is it the players?
There may be faults on both sides but if the refs are taking things personally they should be the bigger
person. Just for the love of the game, in the eyes of the public the players will always be seen as victims.
How Sports Has Changed Over the Years Mainly in the NBA, and NFL
The National Basketball Association was founded in the 1940’s and has since witnessed a
number of changes as it evolved from a simple game with local significance to a larger game
with international importance, and membership. Its evolution is tightly linked to that of other
similar sporting events such as the National Football League, as a matter of fact, its evolution,
and growth is a narration of how sports as a whole has evolved and improved over time.
Therefore, the National Basketball Association (NBA) has grown in size to an international scale
with offices in China by October 8, 2002. It has therefore engaged in glocalisation efforts that
have seen it penetrate international markets deeper, and more reliably in a manner that has
blended with the local culture (Huang, p. 267-284). Another area in which the games have
significantly improved and changed with time is with regards to officiating processes, and
regulations. This has become more precise, and strict due to a number of factors. One of these
factors is the fact that the games are now played internationally, and a higher standard is required
from the organizers, and individuals officiating. The second rationale for improved, and stricter
officiation lies in the fact that technology has indeed increased the possibility of tracking, and
precisely monitoring the games to the extent that new rules that are more precise have been
enacted., with the technology as the supporting factor. This paper looks at the evolution of the
NBA in terms of officiation of matches, and whether the strictness that exists today is positive, or
negative, and what can be done to improve the game.
The officiating of NBA games has seen remarkable discontent from players, and by
extension fans due to perceived insensitivity by referees, and their purported implicit bias.
However, studies have shown that there is indeed bias that has been witnessed in the officiating
of the NBA game in recent years. The biases that have been noted are; racial, home team
favoring, leniency towards teams losing during games, and favoritism towards teams losing in
playoff series. As matter of fact of fact, some studies have even shown that the referees can show
bias based on height. In the light of such evidence supported by literature, and facts from
observation of the field laboratory, it is evident that the games, both NFL, and NBA have
become stricter, and biased over time. According to the study by Price, Remer, and Stone,
referees in the NBA, and NFL games have demonstrated a tendency to favor; losing teams
during games, and playoff series as well as well as their home teams (Price, Remer, and Stone, p.
271-300). In another study by Gift, and Rodenberg, the authors found that if officiating teams
were composed of a relatively shorter three-person officiating crew, more personal fouls were
called regardless of the height of the players (Gift, and Rodenberg, p. 541-558). In yet another
study by Wolfers, and Price, the authors found evidence of racial bias in the manner in which
fouls were called (Wolfers and Price, p. 271-300). Referees of the opposite race always seemed
to be harder on players of a race that was not their own. The research, however, did not make a
distinction on whether the bias was predominantly from white, or black officiating personnel.
The unfairness in the games can be solved through a variety of means since it is a
complex problem that can happen voluntarily, or involuntarily. One of the aspects that can
reduce the unfairness is with regards to how the games are played, recorded, and observed. In
fact, the monitoring systems are increasingly becoming efficient, and the decisions by referees
can be negotiated by the team observing through the cameras. The NBA, for example, requires
that when decisions are contentious on the field, and the officials don’t agree, the observation
crew can use evidence from the cameras to aid in mediating such cases. A second approach to
mitigate these unfair tactics lies in transparency (Price, Remer, and Stone). The NBA, for
example, started collecting data on calls, and making it public so that what the referees decided
within the last two minutes of the game can be analyzed, and scrutinized by management, and
the court of public opinion. Such transparency can greatly increase the possibility of a fair call
since the referee’s decision is not just final but can be reviewed, and action taken in case
unreasonable calls are made. Another solution is in form of education, and sensitization.
Referees act in split seconds, and this fast decision-making process inherently has errors
(Wolfers and Price, p. 1859–1887). From this perspective, the officials must be trained to
overcome the bias that may stem from circumstantial stress, and field pressure. Finally, it is
important that the players, and referees are both guided on how to behave on the field. Some
biases build due to perceived behavior towards referees by some players (Gift, and Rodenberg, p.
541-558). Therefore, a participatory dialogue should help both parties clear their heads and
approach the situation with an objective mind.
Every source employed in this paper has the relevant authority owing to the fact that all
of them are from peer-reviewed journals. This means that before this research is published, it is
analyzed by experts in the fields, and verified in terms of data collection, and research design.
This implies that the sources are verified, and written, as well as approved by experts in the field
of sports, and games. Therefore, the information from the article can be trusted by the reader.
Works Cited
Gift, Paul, and Ryan M Rodenberg. “Napoleon Complex: Height Bias Among National
Basketball Association Referees.” Journal of Sporta Economics 15.5 (2014): 541-558.
Huang, Fuhua. “Glocalisation of Sport: The NBA’s Diffusion in China.” The International
Journal of the History of Sport 30.3 (2013): 267-284. Print.
Price, Joseph, Marc Remer, and Daniel F Stone. “Subperfect Game: Profitable Biases of NBA
Referees.” Journal of Economics, and management Strategy 21.1 (2012): 271-300. Print.
Wolfers, Justin, and Joseph Price. “Racial Discrimination Among NBA Referees.” The Quaterly
Journal of Economics 125.4 (2010): 1859–1887. Print.
Changing of the game
Professional sports have evolved significantly over the last few decades, and they have
become stricter, and stringent in terms of rules, and regulations. Additionally, the officials
officiating the games have gained more experience with time and improved as well as fine-tuned
their observations, and judgement skills. This has contributed to the incidents that have been
witnessed in the industry such as the ejection of LeBron James of the Cavaliers for the first time
in his 15-year career ( Apparently, James lashed out at a referee after he was fouled,
and the official failed to call it. For this, he was given two technical fouls, and ejected by the
white referee ( Now, James had been known for emotional confrontations with
referees but this is the first time this earned the seasoned player, and ejection (
However, the observers’ last Two Minute Report, indicated that indeed the player had been
fouled, and the referee never called them, two of them ( This case is an indication that
in James’s fifteen-year career, some aspects have changed since his character arguably remained
the same but he got ejected for it this time ( The aspect that this shows is the fact that
the games have evolved significantly. Now there are observes who can check what the referees
call in the field and helped quell public concerns. The paper seeks to identify the problems that
have arisen as sports evolve, their potential solutions, and what the future holds for professional
basketball, and other similar games (
Problem Statement: Bias in officiation, and poor officiation, in general, have seen the NBA
face the public wrath and has been a source of discontent on the court, and after the games
threatening its integrity, and public reputation.
The same improvements can be observed in the NFL as technology has allowed errant
referees, and players to be singled out, and placed under observation if necessary. However, the
strict rules in the games are both with regards to players, and officials. Now everyone is under
observation, and this has helped solve some controversies, and led to new ones for fragmented
groups of dissenting players, and fans. For example, in the case of James, despite the fact that
cameras demonstrated that the referee missed the calls, some players, and fans dissented, and
termed the observes as incompetent in matters that happen on the courts. However, the important
thing, in this case, is the fact that a majority of fans who were interested in the truth were
This altercation seems to support several ideas proposed by scholars who have studied
the games. Several scholars agree that bias is exhibited in NBA games, and several other
professional games. These biases can stem from a number of facts such as race (Wolfers, and
Price, p. 271-300), height of players vs that of referees (Gift, and Rodenberg, p. 541-558), home
ground advantages (Price, Remer, and Stone, p. 271-300), and the stage of the game.
Solutions, and Best Practices
Regardless of these biases, some solutions have been formulated as well such as the use
of modern technology such as cameras to monitor referees as well as players, and enforce calls
that referees may miss, or be confused about. Another solution is in the form of compiling
transparent reports that demonstrate oversight over the referees calls such as the last two-minute
calls report that evaluates referee calls within the last two minutes of a game, which are often
intense, and filled with contention as teams are desperate to make a difference. Another solution
that can be played is that of participatory solutions in which referees, players, and the
management all come together, and resolve, or at least address the issues that affect their proper
coexistence. Finally, both the referees, and the players must be trained to deal with situations that
could result in altercations, and how to avoid them altogether if necessary.
Future of The Field
The future of the NBA in light of these new developments is promising. This is because
technology, and high standards have helped the game proceed beyond the borders and inspire
other types of sports to follow suit. When there is a set stand that all nations can verify, and
adhere to, then they may be encouraged to adopt the game within their borders as China has done
(Huang, p. 267-284). With time, the stringent nature of the rules, and the proposed solutions to
altercations would help make the games even more professional, and just. This boosts goodwill
and creates a culture where players feel valued, and the officials are held to high standards. This
attracts corporate goodwill and can be a source of funds for the game, allowing it to grow, and
In 10 years, bad calls, and biased calls by referees are going to be a thing of the past since
the latest trends in evaluation of official’s calls force them to uphold order, and refrain from
emotionally charged calls. Additionally, the level of transparency in the games would increase as
technology advances and makes it much easier to track games and analyze the results in realtime. For example, 360-degree 3D viewing experiences have advanced enough that they could
soon be affordable at the home level. This would allow the fans to view the game like they do a
three-dimension movie, and this would mount pressure on referees to be fair, and transparent
(Stone). If everyone is an observer, then the referee would quickly be seen as biased, or fair as
everyone analyzes their calls at close range. Finally, the games are likely to be more
participatory with fans, management, officials, and players being encouraged to seat at the table,
and iron out their differences (Lumbasi, K’Aol, and Ouma). As reports become extensive to
cover observation of entire games, everyone is going to want to have the last say, especially
when reports contrast what the referee’s called in a closed game. Smooth management would
only be possible if everyone worked together in light of this level of transparency.
Solutions After 10 Years
After ten years, the solution that would hold is that of participatory planning, and action.
Since elements of democracy and notions of citizen participation are on the rise, facilitated by
technology, participatory means of running businesses are catching on, and this implies that after
a decade, the NBA, and NFL would likely have participatory management (Lumbasi, K’Aol, and
Ouma). This would help solve issues collectively and help reduce the power distance within the
structures of the management. Another aspect that would still work is training and development.
The teams and management must always train their players, and officials on how to behave in
the field, and how to officiate effectively. This is a continuous element of any organization and is
likely to remain regardless of how many decades pass. Finally, the evolution of technology, and
its use in the game to solve situations shall remain. This is because methods of recording and
viewing the game would keep improving as demonstrated by the article form Samsung Inc
Evolution of Problems
However, by this time, the problems are going to evolve as well, and new ones may spin
off the old ones, or even the intended solutions, one problem that shall arise is with regards to
participation. In any business that uses participation to solve issues, the biggest growing issue is
how much participation is required (Baiocchi and Ganuza). Therefore, with increased
transparency, the problem of over-participation can slow down everything, and even result in
interruption of matches due to fan protests. Another issue that can evolve with time is that
referees may actually make increased bad calls rather than improve. This is because, with all the
monitoring, some referees may be intimidated into making calls that appear right rather than
using their instincts in the heat of the moment. Since they know that a bad call, or a mistake
could cost them their reputation, they may start seeing mistakes that may not be there in order to
appear stricter, an aspect that could compromise the overall quality of officiating, and the entire
Works Cited
Baiocchi, Gianpaolo, and Ernesto Ganuza. Popular Democracy: The Paradox of Participation.
Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2016. Print.
Gift, Paul, and Ryan M Rodenberg. “Napoleon Complex: Height Bias Among National
Basketball Association Referees.” Journal of Sporta Economics 15.5 (2014): 541-558.
Huang, Fuhua. “Glocalisation of Sport: The NBA’s Diffusion in China.” The International
Journal of the History of Sport 30.3 (2013): 267-284. Print.
Lumbasi, George W, George O K’Aol, and Caren A Ouma. “The Effect Of Participative
Leadership Style On The Performance Of COYA Senior Managers In Kenya.”
Researchjournali’s Journal of Management 4.5 (2016): 1-12.
Price, Joseph, Marc Remer, and Daniel F Stone. “Subperfect Game: Profitable Biases of NBA
Referees.” Journal of Economics, and management Strategy 21.1 (2012): 271-300. Print.
Stone, Adam. Music, Theater, Sports: Virtual Reality Devices Transform the Event Experience. 3
February 2016. Web. 30 April 2018. .
Wolfers, Justin, and Joseph Price. “Racial Discrimination Among NBA Referees.” The Quaterly
Journal of Economics 125.4 (2010): 1859–1887. Print.

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