Latest Player-Ref Dispute Involves Paul’s Ejection by Foster

Latest Player-Ref Dispute Involves Paul's Ejection by Foster

There are very few players and officials in the NBA whose careers are as entwined as Chris Paul and Scott Foster’s, and on Wednesday night, another chapter was added to their extensive history when the Phoenix Suns defeated the Golden State Warriors by a score of 123-115. With only a few seconds left in the first half, Foster received two rapid technical fouls shortly before the break, which resulted in Paul being sent to the locker room.


Foster’s explanation through the pool report after the game was brief and got straight to the point.

Question: Why was Chris Paul assessed the first technical foul?


Foster: For unsportsmanlike conduct.


Question: How did Chris Paul escalate the situation to be given a second technical foul, leading to his ejection from the game? 


Foster: He continued to complain and received a second unsportsmanlike technical foul.

At the beginning of the altercation, Paul was called for a foul on Kevin Durant, his former teammate, and the play was stopped. Paul made a beeline for Foster as Durant made his way to the line and immediately began communicating his views. After that, the two got into a lengthy conversation that at first appeared to be light-hearted but rapidly became heated and animated.


When Foster had finally reached his breaking point, he called a technical foul on Paul just before Durant shot his second free throw. That infuriated Paul, who continued to yell at Foster despite being issued a second technical foul and, therefore, being kicked out of the game automatically. At that time, Steve Kerr, the head coach of the Warriors, got involved in the game and received a technical foul of his own.


Paul remarked after the game that “it’s personal.” “It’s been a few years, but we had an incident that is very sensitive. There has been a meeting and everything, and the league and everyone else are aware of the situation. There’s a problem involving my son, and so sure, that’s the case. I am okay with a referee offering their opinion or saying whatever else they want to, but please don’t do it through a technician. My teammates are counting on me. Therefore, I need to do a better job of ensuring that I don’t leave the field. However, that settles it for now.


Yeah. They are aware of what it is, as is him. They also know it. I met with him, my father, Doc Rivers, Bob Delaney, and everyone else involved. When I was still a member of the Clippers, to put it simply, it was a big deal. For quite some time now, people have been doing this. I won’t say anything that might get me in trouble with the law. Now, things are how they are, regardless of how they may have been.


Although it may surprise some, this was the first time Paul had ever been kicked off the team due to an ejection. As Paul pointed out in his comments, they had gotten into it before. However, it was the first time they publicly addressed the issue.


After a game in the 2018 regular season, in which Paul was whistled for a technical foul by Foster, Paul remarked about Foster, “He just never fails.” “With some of them, you can [have communication]. Simply put, you need to determine who you can trust and who you cannot. This evening, I was given a technician. I was standing over there with the referee, Courtney Kirkland, yelling, “That’s Scott, that’s Scott,” when I was informed that I had received a technical foul. That location is steeped in history. He is the one you should be looking for. They have paid to see someone like that.”


After the Los Angeles Lakers defeated Paul and the Phoenix Suns in Game 3 of the 2021 NBA Finals while Foster was on the call, Paul lamented, “If I was a betting man — 11 games in a row.” This was about his losing skid in postseason games officiated by Foster, which eventually reached 13 games before the Suns won Game 2 of their first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers last season.


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