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Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports

An official journal of the American Statistical Association

Editor-in-Chief: Glickman, PhD, Mark

4 Issues per year

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2014: 0.265
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2014: 0.513
Impact per Publication (IPP) 2014: 0.452


Perception ? Reality: Analyzing Specific Allegations of NBA Referee Bias

Ryan Rodenberg1

1Florida State University

Citation Information: Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports. Volume 7, Issue 2, ISSN (Online) 1559-0410, DOI: 10.2202/1559-0410.1326, May 2011

Publication History

Published Online:

The 2007 gambling scandal involving a National Basketball Association (NBA) referee, coupled with the NBA’s follow-up investigation, put allegations of basketball referee bias in the spotlight. This paper analyzes specific allegations of bias by Miami Heat coach and general manager Pat Riley against NBA referees Steve Javie and Derrick Stafford. In the course of analyzing every referee who officiated a Miami Heat during a nine-year period, neither Javie nor Stafford exhibited systematic bias that had an adverse effect on the Miami Heat. In fact, the Heat performed slightly better than predicted when Javie officiated their games. The results provide real-world empirical evidence consistent with “confirmation bias,” a theory grounded in the finding that individuals with a vested interest in certain self-justifying outcomes may reach generalized conclusions unsupported by actual evidence.

Keywords: bias; basketball; referees

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