Shmuck of the Week: Anyone wearing stripes

I was feeling a little Shmuck Light this week, unsure that anyone had really risen their shmuck game to a level deserving of this honor, which is fast becoming the Teen Choice Awards of the half-baked-insult-blog world. I engaged our Twitter friends, and even they, at first, were a little unsure. One guy suggested we lay the shmuck down on the Conifer teen who injured herself boogie-boarding on the hood an SUV. But Shmuck Bylaw 4.247-A clearly states that all high school students are "permitted to, and in fact encouraged to, engage in otherwise shmuck-worthy behavior for a four-week period beginning two weeks before and ending two weeks after the last day of school." So she was off the hook. In the hospital, but off the hook.

So we were stumped. But then a few people came through with not a single shmuck, but a shmuck collective that is more than worthy of the honor: The NBA referees.

For Nuggets fans, for fans of basketball, for fans of competence in the workplace, there is no debating that the men charged with managing NBA playoffs have done so with the consistency and skill of an assistant manager at Arby's -- and not some rising-star assistant manager who will one day move to Vegas to run an In-N-Out franchise, but a pimply shithead who lucked into the job after the previous assistant manager sliced his hand instead of the roast beef.

In short: They're ruining what otherwise would be two of the best conference finals series in years. It's been chronicled more thoroughly (and with fewer fast-food analogies) elsewhere, including a 67,000-word diatribe by ESPN's Bill Simmons. But the bottom line is this: They're too old (thirteen of them are over fifty), too quick to issue technicals and flagrants (taunting Anderson Varejao should be required, not punished), and too inconsistent (Nenê fouls out while Pao Gasol gets whistled once?).

The bottom line: The league needs some new refs and a new direction, one that lets these freaks of nature compete and battle without play being constantly interrupted by whistles and groans. It'll speed the game up, cut back on all the whining, and save us all from having to watch Dwight Howard shoot those awkwardly effective free throws eighteen times a night.

And so it was written: NBA refs, you're all shmucks. Please retire, and take your whistles with you.

For more shmucks, see our Shmuck of the Week archive.

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