National Basketball Referees Association weighs in on Wideman situation

01/30 1:28am EST by Dhiren Mahiban
Dennis Wideman, Don Henderson

While Calgary Flames defenceman Dennis Wideman won’t know his fate until next week, the National Basketball Referees Association weighed in on the matter on Friday.

Wideman ran into linesman Don Henderson on Wednesday night as he was skating to the Flames bench. He was not penalized on the play, but has a hearing with the league on Tuesday.

“It is time for everyone that participates in or watches sports to acknowledge this trend of aggression against game officials,” said NBRA general counsel Lee Seham in a statement. “As professionals, referees represent an authority that is being blatantly disrespected. As human beings, referees are facing a troubling wave of increased hostility against them for just showing up to work.”

On the same night, L.A. Kings forward Milan Lucic accidentally struck linesman Jay Sharrers in the face. Lucic did not receive a penalty on the play and does not have a hearing for the incident.

“Heckling and verbal taunting have always been obstacles of the job, but intentional physical violence towards referees is escalating each year,” said Seham. “The increasing number of attacks indicate a lack of respect from players, coaches and spectators for the job that referees perform.”

Since Wideman was not penalized for colliding with Henderson, it’s unknown how long he will be suspended for.

As the folks at Scouting the Refs note, Rule 40.2 of the NHL rulebook states:

“Any player who deliberately strikes an official and causes injury or who deliberately applies physical force in any manner against an official with intent to injure, or who in any manner attempts to injure an official shall be automatically suspended for not less than twenty (20) games.”

On Thursday, the NHL formally suspended Wideman pending his hearing.