Following his ejection from their game against the Chicago Bulls, the NBA decided to suspend Boston Celtics‘ forward Grant Williams for recklessly making contact with a referee.
With his suspension, Williams will have to sit out when the Celtics face the Cleveland Cavaliers on October 28. Williams spoke to reporters for the first time since the NBA announced that they were suspending Williams. Williams voiced his disappointment in himself as well as agreed with the league’s ruling following his actions.
“Disappointed for sure. I was more so disappointed about missing the game. It’s definitely one of those things which you never want to let your team down, and I felt like I did,” Williams said. “When it comes to punishment, it’s just for sure. I made a mistake. So for me, it’s something I probably won’t challenge. Especially the fact that one, it’s a female referee, and two, it’s not something that we want our players to be doing in the league. So no matter if it was inadvertent or not, I gotta be better.”
Williams’ Thoughts on the Calls That Got Him Ejected
What led to Williams’ reckless contact with the referee was when he was called for a blocking foul while trying to draw a charge in the fourth quarter. Williams evidently disagreed and tried to walk away but then made contact with the referee as he did.
While talking with reporters, Williams maintained that the contact with the referee was not intentional, but he also made it clear that he disagreed on the call at that point in time.
“After the moving screen call, I just kind of was questioning,” Williams said. “So, I think there was a little bit of emotion in the moment, and then that next play was directly afterward when I took a charge, which I feel like was a bang-bang play; it probably could’ve gone either way with it, probably looks more like a charge in my eyes.”
Williams made it clear that showing emotions while playing is important but then said that regardless, he has to be more mature in situations like those.
“I think it was a little bit of youth in mind. I have to be better in the sense of being more mature and understanding that your emotion is good,” Williams said. “It’s just a matter of channeling that, using it in a better direction and using that whether that’s directed towards a teammate, making sure everybody’s engaged and motivated, directing it towards yourself if you’re not having a great game yourself, I feel like that’s the next step.”
Williams Voiced the Importance of Respecting and Understanding Referees
Williams told reporters why he’s made it a priority to understand and respect referees in the NBA.
“These same officials are going to ref every single game that we have all the way up to the Finals,” Williams said. “Not knowing their names, not knowing how to respect them, what they prefer, that’s something that I’ve tried to learn throughout the years, just understanding each official and how they are.”
Williams then said that understanding them is important because not all referees handle their job the same way on the court.
“That’s something that I’ve tried to do a better job of, understanding some of the more veteran officials. You have to be more respectful, kind of approach them in a soft way, vs. being aggressive and direct. Others, you kind of have to have that confrontation because they don’t take it personally.”
William’s antics earned him both his first ejection and suspension he’s had since starting his NBA career in 2019.