Earlier this month, Toronto Raptors star player Fred VanVleet absolutely blasted NBA referee Ben Taylor for some of his controversial calls during a game. And even though VanVleet was given a $30,000 fine for his comments, it appears the NBA has also punished the referee in question, too.
During an appearance on The JD Bunkiss Podcast, Tom Haberstroh of The Basketball Illuminati podcast revealed that it appears the NBA has demoted Ben Taylor since the incident, based on his referee assignments.
“I will say that Ben Taylor, since that Fred VanVleet rant in which he called him out with some very harsh language for sure, the NBA has actually demoted Ben Taylor in his assignments. So, in the last five games, Ben Taylor has only been the crew chief once. He’s been the ‘Referee 2’ four times since that game.
"Since that Fred VanVleet rant… the NBA has actually demoted Ben Taylor in his assignments."@tomhaberstroh on how the #NBA has handled the Taylor/VanVleet situation with @JDBunkis.
— Sportsnet 590 The FAN (@FAN590) March 21, 2023
Haberstroh points out that these assignments are “a real abnormality with Ben Taylor.”
“If you look at his 52 games this season, Ben Taylor was the crew chief in 41 of those games – basically four out of five games he was the crew chief,” Haberstroh said. “To put in perspective, Ben Taylor hadn’t been a ‘Referee 2’ in back-to-back games all season. After the Fred VanVleet [situation], it’s happened twice. I don’t know if that’s intentional or that’s luck of the draw, but clearly, the NBA has taken a different tact to Ben Taylor’s assignments, whether that’s punishment or whether it’s just ‘you need to chill out a little bit.'”
It’s a bit surprising, but it goes to show that there are repercussions for NBA officials, after all.