Player referee meeting
The NBPA and NBRA will hold a Player Referee Summit to address the issues within the relationship. ( Tony Avelar/ Associated Press)

The National Basketball Players Association and the National Basketball Referees Association will have a closed-door meeting during the All-Star break to discuss the growing tensions between the two groups. The player referee summit is scheduled for February 17.

This NBA season has seen a growing chasm in the relationship of players and the refs, so much so that the NBPA and NBRA deemed it necessary to have an open discussion with both parties present to clear the air.

The NBPA and NBRA released a statement on Tuesday addressing the reasoning behind the meeting and the points of emphasis on which they hope to focus.

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.

Included in the statement were topics considered to be of high importance in regards to advancing and repairing the relationship.

Some of the issues listed the Association wants to address are: 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; and equality of treatment for all players and officials.

Michele Roberts, Executive Director of the NBPA, hopes this discussion will succeed in creating a better environment for both referees and players.

…“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.”

Mark Denesuk, the spokesperson for the NBRA, shares Roberts’ sentiments and wants to improve the overall product for the two involved parties and the fans as well.

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

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