Being a referee in professional sports has got to be one of the most thankless jobs in the world. How the referees call the game helps dictate the flow of the contest, and no matter which way the officiating winds blow, one party will always feel like they got the short end of the stick. Thus, given the accessibility of social media, the overall criticism towards referees is reaching its loudest point — and all the noise simply may have gotten too loud for Eric Lewis, a referee who has been in the league for 19 years.
Lewis, thanks to the discovery of some internet sleuths, may have defending his name from all the besmirching it’s been receiving on Twitter with the use of a burner account. Some of those criticisms include being a Boston Celtics fan, simply due to the fact that he was the crew chief during the game where the officials missed an obvious foul call on Jayson Tatum on a potential LeBron James game-winning layup.
As a result of these allegations, the NBA has now opened an “official review” into Twitter activity of user @CuttliffBlair involving Eric Lewis, per Marc Stein.
It’s not quite a certainty yet that the burner account belongs to Lewis or to anyone affiliated with him. That is, perhaps, what the league investigation will attempt to clarify beyond doubt. Even then, it’s unclear what repercussions, if any, will come if the NBA proves that the account truly belongs to the veteran official.
Thanks to free speech however, it doesn’t stand to reason that Lewis would receive any sort of punishment if the burner account does indeed prove to be his, especially when the account isn’t necessarily spewing hateful rhetoric.