Refs’ fouls disparity explanation to Julius Randle doesn’t make sense

New York Knicks power forward Julius Randle commented on how a lack of officiating based on his size isn’t fair in the NBA. 

Beyond the instance of unseen fouls, NBA officiating can be subjective, to say the least.

Julius Randle experienced the brunt of that on Tuesday night during a depressingly close loss to their fellow New York rival, the Brooklyn Nets.

Losing by a mere two points, the Knicks faced a rough night that potentially could have gone the other way. Randle received a technical foul in a tied game with only 30 seconds to go, then the Nets won 112-110.

Randle wasn’t getting calls all game, but when he questioned the referees about this, it became clear that the lacking calls were intentional. According to refs, Randle is “stronger than defenders and contact is not affecting him.”

“That’s not how you officiate the game,” Randle replied during the post-game press conference.

Julius Randle rejects referee explanation of why big men don’t draw foul calls

As Randle explained, bigger players in the NBA frequently get fewer calls because the aggressive play isn’t perceived as affecting them as greatly as smaller players. In a league where players’ heights range by a foot or more, bigger players do wield a significant size advantage — but this also means they face discrimination when it comes to fair officiating.

“Usually, in basketball, when smaller players are guarding bigger players, they get away with a lot more, but certain things are a little more blatant,” Randle said. “If you just slap a guy, I don’t care who it is, it’s going to affect them.”

One of the league’s most legendary big men spoke to Randle’s predicament, indicating that this is just the way basketball is played.

“Nobody roots for Goliath,” Shaquille O’Neal said, directing the message at Randle. “Nobody cares… Play through it, big man.”

Shaq explained how “the little guys don’t care about the big guys” and that Randle has to “play through it” because O’Neal had the same experience in the league. O’Neal once complained about uneven officiating, and the resulting apathy sent him a message: play through the disparity regardless.

In his eighth year in the league, Randle has undoubtedly played through it for almost a decade — but that doesn’t make narrow losses like this any easier.

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