Thursday, February 10, 2011
Agent: Refs targeting Stephen Jackson
By Chris Broussard
ESPN The Magazine
Mark Stevens, the agent for Charlotte Bobcats guard Stephen Jackson, believes some of the league's officials are holding a grudge against his client.
Stevens says he has noticed a pattern of calls going against Jackson, and he called Wednesday night's non-call at the end of Charlotte's controversial 104-103 loss to Indiana the final straw.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank said the league has "no comment" about Stevens' remarks.
"The inconsistency of the referees' calls or non-calls in close games is becoming questionable," Stevens said in a telephone interview on Thursday. "It looks like they're taking the player and/or his personality into account when deciding whether or not to make calls."
On the final play of Wednesday's game, Indiana's Darren Collison appeared to make contact with Jackson as Jackson attempted a 32-foot jumper that could have won the game. When no foul was called, Jackson and his teammates, as well as Bobcats coach Paul Silas, protested to the officials.
Collison, when asked about the play, said, "I didn't feel like I fouled him. I made a play and whatever happened, happened. I'm not answering that type of question because I hate lying."
Stevens said Jackson, who has a reputation as a volatile player, is being singled out by officials.
"The referees are the law enforcement arm of the game," Stevens said. "They enforce the rules and regulations that the players must abide by. However, just as profiling is wrong in police work, we must make sure that the league does not do personal profiling of certain players.
"I understand that my player has had past conflicts with the referees, but their job is to be as fair as possible when calling the game, regardless of any past issues with a player."
Chris Broussard covers the NBA for ESPN The Magazine.