Houston Rockets rookie Montrezl Harrell is playing for Rio Grande Valley in the NBA D-League. The former Louisville star was involved in an altercation with Derek Cooke Jr. at end of Saturday’s game that escalated out of control and ended up with a referee being shoved to the court.
It appears Harrell was trying to retaliate against Cooke, got caught up in the moment and shoved the wrong guy. It’s not the type of behavior anyone is going to rush to condone, but the National Basketball Referees Association may be going a bit too far with its statement on the events.
“After carefully reviewing videotape and related evidence concerning this incident, we have reached the inescapable conclusion that Harrell committed a deliberate assault and battery against Referee Goldenberg. Anything less than a multiple game suspension would constitute a green light for violence against officials,” said Lee Seham, NBRA general counsel.
It’s difficult to imagine Harrell avoiding a severe penalty for his actions. Whether he deliberately meant to harm the referee is debatable. The end result of his response, however, isn’t open for discussion.
It’s a very bad look no matter the intent.