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Jordan Clarkson fined $25K for contact with an official

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The NBA is tripling down on punishing Jordan Clarkson

Phoenix Suns v Utah Jazz Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

According to Bobby Marks, Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson has been fined $25k for his contact with an official during yesterday’s game against the Phoenix Suns.

Obviously players shouldn’t make any sort of contact with an official, and some sort of punishment is warranted here, but this feels a bit excessive.

In what was a pivotal moment in the game, Clarkson made a steal and while making the play one of the officials was in the way and he and Clarkson collided causing the ball to go out of bounds. In frustration Clarkson shoves the official away. The official immediately then hit Clarkson with a technical. So this will likely be more than 25k in fines for the incident because Clarkson will likely accrue the fine for the technical.

Clearly the NBA is trying to keep a precedent that any sort of contact with an official is unacceptable, and that’s an appropriate response, but is there no room for nuance?

Instead of making a play for the Jazz who were struggling the ref rewarded the Suns with another point creating a three point swing for the other team. On top of that, Clarkson wasn’t himself for the rest of the game.

All in all this is a frustrating situation that only ends up in Clarkson being punished.

But maybe there is something positive we can get out of this. The NBA and its officials need to figure out something with referees being in the way of play. For example, this isn’t the first time in even just this season that the Jazz have lost a possession for an official being in the way. Joe Ingles also lost a steal, in a very similar play, when he had an official get in the way of play and deflect the ball out of bounds. He also reacted with frustration but wasn’t given a technical.

Perhaps this is an opportunity that NBA officials can think about how involved in the play they are and find ways to avoid disrupting play more effectively.