Ken Mauer has been an NBA referee for more than three decades. On Saturday, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said, “I love Kenny Mauer.”
Was that part of a damage-control campaign by the league’s cryingest team? Like, if you’ve been a jerk, you’d better hit the flower shop on your way home from work, pal.
It wouldn’t be a bad idea. If, as some suspect, NBA refs are human, it would be smart to mix in a little love with all the whining and disrespecting you hit ’em with.
“The great thing about the officials, honestly,” Kerr said, “is they don’t take (anger and verbal abuse) personally. That’s my experience. I got fined a lot of money ($25,000) last week for yelling at Kenny Mauer, and I deserved it. I love Kenny Mauer, I think he’s one of the best officials in the game, and he understands that I was backing up my guys, and the next time we see each other, we’re going to say hello. It’s going to be cordial.
“It’s sort of a weird relationship. It’s very strange. They sort of understand, we’re going to yell at them, and everyone just sort of understands that afterward, you just sort of make up and move on. I don’t know why anyone would want to be a ref. What a brutal job.”
Especially when you’re reffing the Warriors, a team featuring surround-sound whiners Draymond Green, DeMarcus Cousins and Kevin Durant. Fortunately, the Warriors have Kerr. He can rage and complain with the best of ’em, but he also can turn on the charm. It’s not unusual during a lull in the action to see Kerr standing near a ref, smiling and joking.
Mike Krukow once told me that any time he got into a beef with an umpire, he apologized before the next game. I asked Kerr if he ever apologizes for a meltdown.
“Yeah, I’ve done that before and will continue to do so. Every single time, the next meeting, I try to go up and say something, and they are very responsive.”
Damage control, sure. But that’s also Kerr being Kerr.
Photo: Steve Dykes / Associated Press
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This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/ostler/article/Steve-Kerr-throws-the-refs-a-bouquet-midst-the-13644318.php.