The Chicago Bulls defeated the now 14-5 New York Knicks on Dec. 10. While the Bulls won that game, with a final score of 93-85 at the United Center, Taj Gibson was surprisingly tossed out of the game after receiving two technical fouls.
The first foul occurred when Gibson argued over a loose-ball. After that, he kept asking 24-year NBA referee veteran, Derrick Stafford, questions, being persistent and trying to understand why he received the foul. After that, Stafford had enough and seemed to impulsively give Gibson another foul, kicking him out the game.
According to Bryan Crawford of NBC Chicago, Gibson was surprised at Stafford’s decision kicking him out of the game
“The whole game I was asking him questions because I have a good relationship with Derrick,” Gibson said. “I was asking him if I got fouled or not, what I can do better on defense, and that was it. But he “T’d” me, I walked back to the bench then I got the second one and I got kicked out and went to the locker room. I didn’t even try and say anything back because what more can I do?”
Still, despite the team playing without Gibson, Derrick Rose, Richard Hamilton (torn plantar fascia, left foot) and Kirk Hinrich (injured elbow), the team managed to get their acts together and defeat the eastern conference rivals.
After the game, according to Chicago Tribune reporter Chris Kuc, teammate Luol Deng chimed in, saying Gibson shouldn’t let the whole situation get to him.
“It was one of those games early on–a lot of complaining and talking back and forth and the game got out of control,” Deng said. “Taj lost his temper and then got thrown out. I talked to him afterward and said, ‘if you play in the league long enough, you’re going to get thrown out. Don’t worry about it.’
Gibson concluded his doubled technical offence statement, saying,
“He (Stafford) must have just felt I had an attitude.” I’m not even a guy who causes trouble. I ask questions the whole game. I smile. For me to get two (technicals), I was shocked. I was in the back like, ‘did that really just happen?’
Ultimately, was NBA referee Stafford wrong for kicking out Gibson? Truthfully, you have to consider both sides of the situation. To Gibson, he may think Stafford was quick to judge, giving him those two fouls.
However, to Stafford, he probably felt like Gibson was being annoying, getting in the way and distracting him from officiating the game at which point Stafford probably got fed up with Gibson.