Toronto Raptor Fred VanVleet goes off on expletive-laced rant aimed at referee
The 2023 campaign has been a particularly frustrating season for the Toronto Raptors, and emotions seemed to boil over for veteran point guard Fred VanVleet on Wednesday night after the team fell 108-100 to Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers.
VanVleet went off during a postgame press conference, tearing into referees after a particularly unfortunate technical foul that he believes changed the flow of the game.
"I mean, I don't mind, I'll take a fine, I don't really care," vented VanVleet, to kick off a rant he will almost certainly be fined for.
"I thought Ben Taylor was f***ing terrible tonight. I thought that most nights, a couple out of the three, there was one or two that just f***ed the game up. It's been like that a couple games in a row."
Fred VanVleet went OFF on referee Ben Taylor and NBA reffing in general in his post-game after the Raptors loss. Haven't heard anything like this. pic.twitter.com/VcMkGTh0k3— Faizal Khamisa (@SNFaizalKhamisa) March 9, 2023
VanVleet's anger was mostly directed at referee Ben Taylor, who has a bit of a history of issuing technical fouls to the Raptors' starting point guard.
"You come out tonight competing pretty hard, third quarter, I get a bullshit tech, change the whole dynamic of the game, the whole flow of the game," said VanVleet.
"Most of the refs are trying hard, they communicate pretty well and then others who just want to be dicks, and it f***s the game up. Nobody is coming to see that s***, they're coming to see the players."
FVV rn pic.twitter.com/7Q2oX0kAxI— AD FANATIC (@tywow28) March 9, 2023
VanVleet suggests that calls like Taylor's third-quarter technical are among the reasons "we're losing a bit of the fabric of what the NBA is and was, and it's been disappointing this season."
This wasn't an isolated incident either, as VanVleet points out that "Most of my techs this season have been with Ben Taylor officiating, so at a certain point as a player, you feel it's personal."
Ben Taylor looking forward to next FVV game ..! pic.twitter.com/FPJmnmVwDB— Abdi Farah (@abdin23) March 9, 2023
VanVleet admits that officiating was not the reason the team lost, but his frustration with Taylor's officiating could not be worded any clearer.
It's a good thing VanVleet isn't worried about fines, because, at four expletives (five if you count "dicks") and open allegations of a bias in officiating, he's looking at some serious wage garnishing from the NBA.
Adam silver counting the fines from this interview alone pic.twitter.com/WyWwBDvnVN— Confused Houston Fan 🙃😕😐 (@Snyphe) March 9, 2023
Others are speaking up in defence of FVV's defiant and curse-word-filled stand.
FINALLY SOMEONE THAT ISNT AFRAID TO SPEAK UP. THESE REFS NEED TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE— ❆ (@TraesMuse) March 9, 2023
It took Steady Freddie some unfortunate calls to get to this level of outspokenness, but commenters say other NBA players should take the cue and speak up about their own perceptions of officiating bias.
Refs don’t wanna hear their named dragged through the mud. They’ll tighten it up if you call them out. Come on now, that’s pocket change to y’all players.— Tony (@antforthreeeeee) March 9, 2023
Fred logged 13 points, four rebounds, and nine assists in a game where the Clippers were given more than double the chances at the free-throw line than Toronto.
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