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Kendall Gill Suspended After Newsroom Fight Over Chicago Bulls
We hate terrorists. We hate cockroaches in our hamburgers. We hate lying weatherman. But at no time does our hatred boil to a fevered pitch of disgust than when a ref makes a bad call.
There is a special crevice in hell for these refs who ruin a game by making backasswards calls. The coach erupts into a frenzy spewing profanities and foaming at the mouth, the players stare slack-jawed in shock and disbelief and the thousands of fans in the arena must hold back the urge to storm the court and rip the flesh off the bones from the men and woman in the white and black shirts.
Ok, maybe not everyone has these urges. Yet for many Chicago Bulls fans this past week, a nonrandom act of senseless violence felt justified. Apparently, Comcast SportsNet Chicago Bulls analyst Kendall Gill felt the same way.
The Chicago Bulls are slumping hard like it’s the weekend and Bernie’s lifeless body doesn’t have enough helping hands to keep him upright. Derrick Rose’s return is still a mystery. Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson finally came back from injuries, but unfortunately the Bulls playoff position is slipping as the season draws to an end.
Tuesday’s game against the fast breaking Denver Nuggets added insult to a team plagued with injuries. Looking lethargic for most of the game, the Bulls made a late run to force overtime against the Nuggets (who are on a 14-game winning streak).
With 46 seconds left in overtime, the officiating crew of Ken Mauer, Kane Fitzgerald, and Kevin Fehr didn’t bother to call goaltending on a Kosta Koufus putback on a Ty Lawson missed layup with the ball still hanging on the rim.
Yet two plays later the refs called offensive basket interference on a Joakim Noah tip-in that would have given the Bulls a 120-119 lead with 1.7 seconds left in overtime.
The problem? The refs never made the call on the floor. Apparently, the trio of referees took guidance from the Nuggets bench who demanded for a call against the Noah tip-in after Denver called a timeout. Ken Mauer and his crew decided to take away the Bulls basket and call the whole thing offensive interference resulting in a 119-118 Denver victory.
“If we deem the ball in its descent has a chance to score, and therefore it’s in the cylinder, it’s either offensive basket interference or it’s goaltending, that’s it,” referee Ken Mauer told a pool reporter when asked about the game-deciding call.
If the rules state that Noah’s basket was offensive interference, fine. That is not the issue here. The real problem that makes Chicago Bulls fans blood boil is that the refs reviewed the play during a Denver timeout and took the points away from the Bulls.
In order for this motley crew of NBA refs to initiate a video review they would have had to make that call on the floor, which they didn’t.
“That’s what is frustrating,” said Bulls center Joakim Noah. “How are you going to review that one, but you can’t review the one two plays before it. … I just know the refs are doing the best they can in those situations, but it cost us the game today, it’s disappointing.”
Check out the play and Coach Thibodeau’s reaction after the basket interference call:
If the team must follow the NBA rules, shouldn’t the refs do the same?
The controversy over the call didn’t end there. Comcast SportsNet Bulls analyst Kendall Gill displayed his love for his team and his disdain for anyone who differs in his opinion on the refs botched call the next day.
Gill, who played 15 seasons in the league, got into a “physical altercation” with Comcast Big Ten analyst Tim Doyle Tuesday night at the Comcast newsroom over Doyle’s criticism of Gill’s analysis over the controversial play.
According to eyewitness Danny Ecker of ChicagoBusiness.com:
Mr. Gill confronted Mr. Doyle in the newsroom over critical comments he had made on the air about Mr. Gill’s analysis of the controversial final moments of Monday’s Chicago Bulls-Denver Nuggets game. The referees ruled that what at first appeared to be a last-second basket by the Bulls would not be allowed, thus giving the win to the Nuggets.
Mr. Gill approached Mr. Doyle and called him out for his comments, which escalated to a shoving match and ultimately Mr. Gill throwing a punch at Mr. Doyle. The two bumped up against a sign on the wall and a small amount of blood was drawn (though it was unclear exactly how) before the two were separated.
Comcast SportsNet Chicago suspended Gill for the remainder of the season on Friday.
“We have made a decision to not have Kendall Gill appear on our air for the remainder of the Bulls season,” the station said. “We will re-evaluate our current position on this matter during the off-season.”
If Gill escalated the altercation from the verbal to the physical then he is definitely in the wrong. The whole thing reeks of unprofessionalism and in any setting outside of an alley or a ring, Gill deserves his punishment.
Yet when it comes to conviction, there is no doubt that Kendall Gill is the undisputed Chicago Bulls fan of the year.
Now that Gill’s schedule is open for the rest of the season, referee Ken Mauer should watch his back next time he officiates a Bulls game. Gill, a southpaw, just so happens to also be a professional boxer.
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