SBD/29/Leagues Governing Bodies

NBA'S NAMING OF TWO WOMEN REFS DRAWS MIXED REACTION

          The NBA officially added Violet Palmer and Dee Kantner
     to its '97-98 officiating staff, marking the first time ever
     that women will officiate an NBA regular-season game (NBA). 
     In Boston, Peter May writes the NBA is "enhancing its
     reputation as a league on the cutting edge of social issues"
     with the move (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/29).  In N.Y., Mike Wise
     writes the move "helped remove yet another barrier for women
     in American sport" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/29).  In Miami, Steve
     Wyche writes that the league, which has "revolutionized
     itself time and time again ... has gone a step further"
     (MIAMI HERALD, 10/29).  Women's Sports Foundation Exec Dir
     Donna Lopiano credited NBA Commissioner David Stern: "As go
     the values of the leader, so goes the organization.  The NBA
     has done the right thing. ... I can't say enough for David
     Stern.  The buck stops there" (NEWSDAY, 10/29)
          PROS OR CONS: A sampling of comments made by NBA
     players on the move: The Pistons' Brian Williams: "No man
     belongs refing games in the WNBA and no woman belongs refing
     games in the NBA.  And you can mail that to David Stern." 
     Also in Detroit, a "half-serious" Grant Hill: "A striped
     shirt is a striped shirt. They're all bad.  They are all the
     enemy" (DETROIT NEWS, 10/29).  The Suns' Tom Chambers:
     "They'll be just like any other rookie official, and that's
     not an easy job -- male, female or indifferent" (ARIZONA
     REPUBLIC, 10/29).  The Rockets' Charles Barkley: "I think
     all referees suck, number one.  I think they all suck.  ...
     I just prefer to have men officials doing NBA games. ... I
     just don't like it.  I got to deal with it, of course, and
     I'll respect them and treat them well, but I'm not going to
     sit here and tell you I like it."  The Bulls' Dennis Rodman:
     "I'm going to treat them just like a man.  They want to be a
     ref, they're going to be treated like a man, right?  If I go
     by and hit them on the butt, it means I'm only trying to get
     friendly with them" ("Fox Sports News," 10/28).  Bulls Coach
     Phil Jackson: "Dennis is always patting referees on the
     butt, and that's something that bothers me more than
     anything else.  I've already told Dennis he's going to have
     to watch it with this."  The Bulls' Michael Jordan: "You
     have to have the utmost respect for them in the sense that
     certain things you do with other referees, you can't really
     say" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 10/29). The Wizards' Juwan Howard:
     "It's going to be tough for a woman, especially if some guys
     use profanity after a bad call" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/29). 
     The Rockets' Kevin Willis: "I think we'll have to clean up
     the language a little" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/29).
          OFFICIAL RESPONSE: Veteran NBA ref Joe Crawford: "I
     don't think there's a problem if the women can take the
     (expletive).  ... I know some of these women can do the job.
     ... I don't think the players are going to like it.  They
     don't like change.  But who am I to say who I referee with?"
     A retired NBA official, who asked to remain anonymous: "I
     can't imagine them taking in women where there are so many
     good [CBA] officials" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/29).

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