Mike Budenholzer will be $25,000 lighter in the wallet after the league levied a large fine on him Monday for making contact with official Ben Taylor during the second quarter of Saturday's loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Budenholzer was immediately ejected but maintained that any contact that he made with Taylor was purely incidental.
The league wasted little time levying a fine on Budenholzer, but that was not enough for the National Basketball Referees Association who thought he should have been suspended. They released the following statement on the incident.
"Referees operate in an environment in which an influential NBA team owner has repeatedly mocked the efficacy of fines as means to change bad behavior," commented NBRA General Counsel Lee Seham. "Recent League precedent dictated that a coach who aggressively charged onto the floor during live action and physically interfered with a Referee would be suspended. We are now operating at a lower level with less transparency, degraded safety, and diminished respect for the Game. Coaches should compete by creating better teams, not by physically intimidating officials."
Budenholzer later released a statement through the Atlanta Hawks saying that he had reached out to Taylor to apologize and hoped to move on from the incident. He was careful to once again state that any contact between he and Taylor was purely incidental.
"With the league's permission, I have reached out to and apologized to Ben Taylor for what happened in the game versus Cleveland. Ben is an excellent young referee who is a valuable member of the NBA family. We all understand that any contact - - including incidental contact - - with an official is unacceptable. I accept the NBA's fine and look forward to putting this situation in the past."