Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was fined $25,000 before the All-Star break for “verbally abusing and confronting a game official”.
Last year’s NBA champions found themselves trailing the Portland Trail Blazers in the fourth quarter of a heated matchup. Draymond Green was called for what would usually be considered a common foul, but the officials upgraded his violation to a ‘flagrant foul 1’ upon review. A flagrant foul 1 involves excessive or severe contact during a live ball, such as swinging an elbow.
Steve Kerr slammed his clipboard onto the courtside scorers’ table in response, earning his first technical foul of the game. The officials then gave Kerr his second technical foul shortly after as he colourfully approached the officials. He eventually had to be restrained by two time All-Star MVP and two time NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant and was ejected from the game.
Rule 12 of the NBA’s handbook for this season provides that technical fouls may be awarded to a player or coach in the event of unsportsmanlike conduct including:
- disrespectfully addressing an official;
- overt actions indicating resentment to a call or no-call;
- use of profanity;
- a coach entering onto the court without permission of an official.
Kerr’s first action of slamming his clipboard down would constitute an “overt action indicating resentment to a call” whilst his subsequent conduct included use of profanity, disrespectfully addressing an official and entering the court without permission. Rule 12(e) also provides that “excessive misconduct shall result in an ejection”.
Other coaches this season have also been subject to excessive fines. Before Christmas, Brooklyn Nets head coach, Kenny Atkinson, was fined $25,000 for abusive conduct towards officials whilst Nick Nurse, the head coach for Toronto Raptors, was fined $15,000 for criticising the officials after a loss to the Denver Nuggets in December. Section VII of Rule 12 grants the NBA Commissioner discretion to impose a fine not exceeding $50,000 to a player or coach subject to an ejection.
The NBA’s collective bargaining agreement governs the use of funds collected from fines. The fines are split equally between the player’s association and the league. The NBA will then donate its portion to a number of charities approved by the player’s association.