All Joey Crawford jokes and half-kidding aside, BallinEurope tries not to fault referees for blown calls too often. Nor does BiE want to get into the habit of blaming the zebras for losses; for a long time, the rant from yours truly has been something along the lines of “Well, your team shouldn’t have been in the position so that a blown call could decide it, anyway.”
However, every once in a while, an exception comes along that even the firmest believer in fair play (or at least fair*ness*) is shaken.
Case in point: Kerem Tunceri’s morphing of a Hedo Turkoglu fumble into last-second layup that bounced Serbia from and got Turkey into the 2010 FIBA World Championship final.
Much indignation was felt in Serbia and rage directed at referees for general home team favoritism and for the Tunceri dagger specifically – every online outlet from Serbia to BallinEurope itself hosted some complaint against the men in stripes. An official complaint was filed with FIBA by Serbian authorities after the game, but such protests are hardly rare or infrequent.
While watching the game, BiE noticed quite a bit of “physical” play allowed by the refs, but nothing necessary grievously in Team Turkey’s favor. However, today, thanks to a fan photo taken from the stands, we can all see that a terrible error was made.
Check out this photo; worth the proverbial thousand words of vitriol.
Please also note the gentlemen with the TV camera working for FIBA – he’s particularly easy to see, as he’s wearing red. Notice the angle on the play that he’s got; has anyone seen this video footage since the conclusion of the game? Did anyone see this shot during the game?
Also of note is the referee at right, who appears to be looking directly at Tunceri.
Also, what about instant replay in these situations? Didn’t FIBA employ replays at the ends of halves, as in the NBA, for this tournament? (BiE believes they did…)
Now look, everybody’s human, not to take anything away from Turkey’s awesome run, it’s all part of history now nothing to be done, et cetera – and BiE does *not* paranoidally believe in any sort of game-fixing or scripting games at this level. But this smoking gun, this Zapruder Film of a snapshot is a bit disturbing to a generally fun tournament, particularly since it seems likely we’ll get the cone of silence from FIBA officials in response to a particularly damningly bad call.
You can understand why Team Serbia backers continue to fume, too; imagine the reaction if, say, Marcelo Huertas had turned a Tiago Splitter miscue into a game-winning layup to give Team Brazil the win over Team USA? Just saying is all…
In lieu of an official apology, here’s BallinEurope’s: All sympathies to Serbia. You may have, in fact, been robbed.