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NBA fines Mavericks owner Cuban for criticizing referees

Mark Cuban understood where David Stern was coming from on his recent decision to fine the Spurs. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images) Mark Cuban (left) has been fined for criticizing the NBA's officiating. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images)

By Ben Golliver

The NBA has fined Mavericks owner Mark Cuban $50,000 for making public comments critical of the league's officiating. The Associated Press reported that the fine, which was not formally announced by the league, was confirmed by a league spokesperson.

A frustrated Cuban threw up his hands at the officials and crowd-sourced suggestions for their improvement on Saturday.

"I'm sorry NBA fans," Cuban wrote on his Twitter account. "I've tried for 13 years to fix the officiating in this league and I have failed miserably. Any suggestions? I need help."

The tweet came after the Mavericks lost to the Hornets in overtime. Prior to that game, Cuban told reporters that he believed the referees had incorrectly officiated a key late play in a Wednesday night overtime loss to the Heat.

ESPNDallas.com reports that Cuban said the referees were "lucky I wasn't there" and that there was a "misapplication of the rules" on an out-of-bounds call that went Miami's way. Cuban also reportedly said that the league's review system, which allows teams to dispute calls after the fact, is a waste of time.

“I will tell you this: We used to turn plays in all the time,” said Cuban, who did complain to the NBA office about the out-of-bounds play. “We don’t do it anymore. I just turned it in because I was mad, but it’s just not worth the time. You know the definition of insanity.”

Cuban's battles with the league office over the quality of its officials dates back to early in his tenure as Mavericks owner and has proved to be costly. He was most recently fined $75,000 for comments made about the officials following a Feb. 1, 2012 loss to the Thunder. The comments that drew that fine were reported by ESPN.com.

“I haven’t said a whole lot about the officiating in a long, long time, but I haven’t seen it this bad in a long, long time. Guys miss calls; that’s part of the game. You’re not always going to have a great crew. Officials have got to learn that’s part of the game. But these were officials that have been part of the league for years, and it was just off-the-charts bad. And, if no one ever says anything, nothing ever happens.”

Of course, Cuban was fined $250,000 after he went on to the court to protest the officials during a Game 5 loss to the Heat in the 2006 NBA Finals.  Reports indicate that Cuban has been fined well over $1 million by the NBA during his time as owner of the Mavericks, which dates back to 2000.

All things considered, Cuban has been fairly mellow in recent years. His fine in February 2012 was the first he received since 2010, when he violated the league's tampering policy in comments about LeBron James, and it was his first for criticizing the officials since March 2009. Back in December, Cuban even said that he understood why NBA commissioner David Stern fined the Spurs $250,000 for resting key players during a nationally-televised game against the Heat.

Cuban's Mavericks are 13-22 and currently tied for the No. 12 seed in the Western Conference. They are 1-9 in their last 10 games and seem headed for their first lottery trip since 1999-2000.
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