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Commentary: McQueen's Franklin blasts local basketball officials. Was he out of line?
by Dan Eckles
Jan 22, 2013 | 3134 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The relationship between officials and coaches has long been a heated one. At least one northern Nevada prep basketball coach reached his boiling point early Sunday morning.

McQueen boys hoops coach John Franklin took to his Twitter account in the wee hours of Sunday morning, probably because he couldn't sleep in his frustration after a tough loss, or, maybe he was just getting in some late-night analysis of game film. Either way, it's evident Franklin was steamed.

The Lancers coach expressed his frustration with northern Nevada prep basketball officials. And then he expressed some more frustration and some more. In all, he tweeted 16 times, venting on everything from: poor officiating in the Lancers' game Saturday against Hug, to officials' lack of physical fitness and professionalism, to a belief that those who care about prep basketball in the area need to stand up and voice their concerns or nothing will be done.

Here are a few of his tweets to give you an idea of his rant.

•It's a shame that coaches and players have to get better every year but the Reno area high school refs continue to get worse!

•No-one is willing to address the officials in this area. From their physical fitness to their professionalism they are not prepare to Ref!!

•Look at every 3 man ref crew & ask yourself if there is 1 guy out there that physically shouldn't b. Then watch how that 1 impacts the game.

‪•I know it sounds like I'm not happy with the refs. I think I'm more upset with the fact that we all sit back and say nothing

•I have a Dream that one day ref in this town will treat all teams equal!!

The last tweet was obviously a play on words given Monday being the MLK holiday. A little sarcasm never hurt anyone. Franklin's Twitter handle is @blueprint hoops. You can see the entire conversation there.

The NIAA, Nevada's governing body for high school sports has a rule prohibiting defamatory comments about officials to the media. But Franklin was not speaking to the media when he made his rant. Is this an instance where technology is ahead of the rulebook?

The NIAA does not think so. It suspended Franklin for Tuesday night's Lancers game against Wooster.

"In our estimation it does (fall under defamatory comments made to the media)," NIAA Assistant Director Jay Beesemyer said. "In our estimation he violated the rule.

"I don't go looking for that stuff. It usually finds its way to my desk. In my estimation, social media certainly falls under 'the media.' Whether we need to put a provision in our regulations to further clarify that, I'll leave it up to the attorneys, but I don't think we need to do anything. I think it's pretty clear."

It's not that clear. It was not a two-way conversation between a coach and reporter. I think the NIAA would have a hard time handing out a punishment and getting any court of law to back it up. But until a coach wanted to pay an attorney to file paperwork and fight that fight, the argument is moot.

Franklin likely voiced concerns that every prep hoops coach in northern Nevada either has held or does still.

The most interesting aspect about Franklin's rant was that very little of it was about a particular official's call or one bad game. It was largely focused on officials' lack of professionalism and his belief that too many take no pride in their craft and have little desire to get better.

It's easy to devalue a coach's comments about a call or two. Officials are human. They make mistakes just like coach's have flawed schemes at times and players miss shots. However, all officials, and coaches too for that matter, should always exhibit professionalism.

It's harder to blow off concerns about professionalism because you cannot argue that professionalism is not a necessity. Franklin makes a valid point there. It may be time for the NIAA, northern nevada officials and others to look more closely at those concerns.

Dan Eckles is the Sparks Tribune's Managing Editor. He can be reached at
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