Earlier this week, it was reported that official Ben Taylor had been demoted after Toronto Raptors star Fred VanVleet viciously called him out with an NSFW rant. However, it appears that never actually happened. The NBA Referees Twitter account fired back at the notion Taylor was given fewer crew chief assignments following the run-in with FVV, saying no such thing ever took place.
“This is categorically false. The schedule for the games referenced was released weeks in advance. Ben Taylor is a Part Time Crew Chief and frequently receives Referee assignments throughout the season. His positional assignments remained unchanged.”
This is categorically false. The schedule for the games referenced was released weeks in advance. Ben Taylor is a Part Time Crew Chief and frequently receives Referee assignments throughout the season. His positional assignments remained unchanged. https://t.co/BxRr7yY2k0
— NBA Referees (@OfficialNBARefs) March 24, 2023
Let's be honest though, a demotion should be in the cards. Refs are the topic of conversation on a weekly basis in the NBA because of countless brutal calls across the Association and unnecessary technicals and flagrants.
Out of VanVleet's eight technical fouls this season, three have been given to him by Taylor. It really seems to be a personal thing and the Raptors guard didn't hold back his feelings on March 8th about the matter:
“f—— terrible tonight,” Fred VanVleet said after a loss to the Clippers. “I thought that on most nights, a couple out of the three [officials], there’s one or two that just f— the game up. … You come out tonight, competing pretty hard. Third quarter I get a bulls— tech, changes the whole dynamic of the game. Changes the whole flow of the game.”
VanVleet was ultimately fined $30,000 by the NBA for his comments. Taylor has only officiated the Raptors once since then. Perhaps he'll be on the floor less when Toronto is involved. But, the decision-makers made it clear his assignments will not change.
The right choice? Questionable.