Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns was ejected in the first half of Friday night’s Timberwolves-Jazz game after picking up his second technical foul. It’s the first ejection of his NBA career.
And it appears to be an *incredibly* weak ejection from referee Kane Fitzgerald.
Here’s a look at the second technical foul (resulting in an auto-ejection) as it happened live on the ESPN broadcast:
And here’s look at replays of both technical fouls, with Doris Burke offering great analysis as usual.
As Burke alluded to, Towns appeared to say something along the lines of “call it,” looking for a foul call. This video @cjzero shared shows how Towns appeared to specifically say, “Damn… call that one!”
Which is perfectly fine! If you’re a professional official you should be able to handle that, and ideally explain to the player why you did or didn’t make a call.
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) March 3, 2018
Wow, Karl-Anthony Towns was just ejected by Kane Fitzgerald. There's NO WAY what KAT just did was worth that.
— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) March 3, 2018
There are only a few magic words out there that should’ve warranted an ejection that quickly, and Towns didn’t seem to say any such words.
And it’s something NBA commissioner Adam Silver certainly shouldn’t want to see when it comes to a star player on national television (and with Jimmy Butler out with injury for Minnesota). Fans didn’t tune in to watch Kane Fitzgerald.
UPDATE: Here’s Fitzgerald’s predictably weak explanation.
Crew chief referee Kane Fitzgerald told a pool reporter that first KAT foul was for an elbow to Crowder's face and 2nd was for "continuous complaint. Three or four plays in a row he was complaining and a technical foul was given. "
— Jerry Zgoda (@JerryZgoda) March 3, 2018