Photo by Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA needs to drop the retroactive missed call reports

If the NBA was a senator, “game fixing” would be the equivalent of saying, “Remember that time he voted for THAT bill everyone hates.” It’s a charge the league cannot completely outrun, no matter what it tries.

Tim Donaghy outing the league on shifty practices with officials merely confirmed what most people assumed went on ahead of time, and still might occur now. It’s X-Files stuff, but sometimes the files are true.

The latest idea that has people pulling their hair out is the NBA’s review of game tape and retroactively pointing out missed calls. The latest version of this practice cited a harrowing missed call on Demar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors against Ian Mahinmi of the Indiana Pacers in the waning seconds of Game 7 Sunday night in Toronto.

Down three in the final 20 seconds, the Pacers made the inexplicable decision to go for two and design a play for their weakest offensive weapon on the floor — a lob, no less — but it would have worked had DeRozan not blatantly chicken wing’d Mahinmi in the back. There was no call. The league admitted the error Sunday.

This story can be rehashed with a dozen calls a month over the course of the season. Why the NBA does it is beyond me, but it needs to stop. If something is upgraded to a fine-able level, go ahead and notify the player individually — and without pomp and circumstance — that he got off lucky, but next time, there will be closer oversight.

There’s simply no reason to piss off fan bases by trying to go back and admit wrongdoing, because all it invites is:

1. Either your officials stink at their jobs;


2. They’re still on the take.

Whether it causes anger or not, people accept a certain amount of human error in officiating. They expect the obvious calls to be made, but they understand replay isn’t a cure-all and that it shouldn’t be: Human error is a part of officiating and sports.

The NBA, being the individualized game that it is, will always struggle with the perception that games are slanted towards certain players living by different rules, mostly because it probably is. Whether this is natural reaction or something more dark and sinister, that’s for everyone else to decide.

The fun thing about conspiracy theory is that if you do it right, neither side can ever be proven right or wrong.

The NBA, though, will continually suffer from a perception issue because of the Donaghy ordeal, and unfortunately for the league, it’s well earned.

Retroactively saying, “We made a mistake,” is the continual “I know I said I wouldn’t stay out until 3 a.m., but I’m sorry, I did (and probably will next week).”

The real answer is just acknowledging that officiating is imperfect and mistakes will be made ahead of time, rather than pouring salt in the wound of a team after the game is over. After all, the league isn’t issuing mea culpas based on a blown hand check call in a 20-18 game in the first quarter. Almost always, these are game-changing-style calls they’re commenting on.

The onus should more be on the league to make sure officials diligently get correct the blatantly obvious calls like the one on DeRozan, and understand that a lot of 60/40 calls and even 70/30 calls will be missed.

Or, they can just keep going to the bar at 3 a.m., apologetically wondering why no one believes a thing they say the next morning.