Fred VanVleet is fed up.
Following the Raptors’ 108-100 loss to the Clippers on Wednesday night, VanVleet used his postgame press conference as an opportunity to voice his criticism of the NBA’s officiating. He didn’t hold back.
“I don’t mind, I’ll take the fine — I don’t really care. I thought Ben Taylor was f—ing terrible tonight,” VanVleet said, calling veteran official Ben Taylor out by name.
“On most nights, out of the three (referees), there’s one or two that just f— the game up and it’s been like that a couple of games in a row.”
(Warning: clip contains strong language)
“I don’t mind, I’ll take a fine. I don’t really care. I thought Ben Taylor was f***ing terrible tonight. On most nights, out of the 3, there’s 1 or 2 that f*** the game up.”
Fred VanVleet on tonight’s officials, and NBA officiating: pic.twitter.com/Plp8DaqNp5
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) March 9, 2023
“Denver was tough, obviously,” VanVleet continued, referring to the late ejection of Scottie Barnes in a tight loss to the Nuggets. “You come out tonight, you’re competing pretty hard, third quarter, I get a bulls— tech, (it) changes the whole dynamic of the game, changes the whole flow of the game.”
MORE: Here’s why Scottie Barnes got tossed late in loss to Nuggets
While VanVleet did clarify that he has a positive relationship with some officials, he did double down with his criticism of some, saying “I like a lot of the refs, they’re trying hard, they’re pretty fair, they communicate well and then you got the other ones who just wanna be d—s and it just kinda f—s the game up, nobody’s coming to see that s—.”
Specific to Taylor, VanVleet said that “you can look (it) up, most of my techs have been with Ben Taylor officiating, so at a certain point as a player, you feel it’s personal — it’s never a good place to be, it’s not why we lost tonight, we got outplayed, but it definitely makes it tougher to overcome.”
According to Josh Lewenberg of TSN, five of VanVleet’s team-high eight technical fouls have come with Taylor officiating, including his first career ejection on Nov. 30 in New Orleans.
Fred VanVleet’s 2nd technical foul for clapping got him ejected from the game 🙄
Raps fans… Does FVV deserve more respect from the officials?
— Tim and Friends (@timandfriends) December 1, 2022
VanVleet shared that he was whistled for a technical foul on Wednesday for telling his teammates “let’s keep playing through the bulls—,” which he called “a little bit crazy.”
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With respect to a potential fine, the recent precedent has shown that players have been docked between $15,000 and $35,000 for public criticism of officiating. Due to the unprecedented nature of VanVleet’s comments, however, this could be a different case.
Per the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NBA and its players’ association, the maximum amount that the league can fine a player without going into arbitration is $50,000.