Joint Statement on the Upcoming Player-Referee Summit

On February 17, 2018, representatives from the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) and the National Basketball Referees Association (NBRA) will sit down together in an unprecedented meeting. Several current NBA players and referees will convene privately during NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles to discuss player-referee relations. The two overriding objectives of the meeting will be furthering communication and transparency — two tenets of growing importance in a league with more exposure and attention than perhaps any other in the world.

It is our shared belief that improvement in these areas will lead to enhanced on-court dynamics and will serve to create an environment characterized by utmost fairness and respect.

Based on input from our respective memberships, both sides will be prepared to productively discuss strengths and frustrations, as well as ideas and solutions. Some general agenda topics will include:

- On-court communication and demeanor

- Perception in media, optics, and reality of issues between players and officials

- Respect For The Game rules, and their consistent enforcement

- Tactics for de-escalation of tension from each side

- Equality of treatment for all players and officials

“This meeting provides a rare opportunity for our players to talk directly with the referees off the court, away from the immediate pressures and emotions of the game,” said NBPA executive director Michele Roberts. “We feel confident that this format will allow for a candid discussion of the issues and that each side will come away with a better understanding of the other’s perspective. It is our hope that this meeting will mark the beginning of an open dialogue that will ultimately lead to progress and improved conditions for all.”

“Everything we are focusing on in the meeting with the players is about creating a better experience for the fan,” said NBRA spokesperson Mark Denesuk. “This initiative taken on by the players and referees demonstrates just how seriously we take this responsibility.”

Night in and night out, the NBA is a showcase for the most competitive professionals in the world. Our community of players, coaches and referees pursue excellence and the continuous improvement of our craft, always working toward the advancement of the game. Finding opportunities to work together, like this summit, is the beginning of a process — one that we hope and believe will yield positive results in the long run.


For further information:

NBPA Media Contact:

Elle Hagedorn

(212) 655–0896


NBRA Media Contact:

Mark Denesuk

(214) 550–5551

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