NBA TAKES A STAND
office or ruling body of the sport they cover, so it's
time to give the powers that be some credit.
For the first time in 25 years, the NBA granted a
protest that will force a replay of a game from the
point where the error occurred.
The Atlanta Hawks scoring crew was to blame, failing
to keep an accurate count of Shaquille O'Neal's fouls
in an overtime game that the Hawks won. O'Neal was
disqualified for his supposed sixth foul with 52
seconds left in overtime when he only had five.
So now, the game has to be resumed the next time the
teams meet in March. It's reminiscent of George Brett
pine tar controversy, when the Royals and Yankees had
to replay the finish when the commissioner overruled
the umpires' decision to call Brett out for having too
much pine tar on his bat after hitting a homer.
The NBA should have done this in a more timely fashion
- the Heat-Hawks game was Dec. 19 - but at least the
league got it right. It's going to have no effect on
Miami's miserable season but it could hurt the Hawks'
drive for a playoff spot if they blow it.
I don't want to see teams protesting a game for every
little thing but this was clearly unfair to the
visitors, losing one of their best players in a tight
game. Hopefully, all sports leagues will be more
open-minded about protests of this nature,
particularly in the postseason.