Carl English played European pro basketball for 15 years, and was a mainstay on the Canadian senior men’s team for over a decade. In all that while, he says, he’d never been ejected from a game.
Well, it’s taken him only five starts to get tossed since joining the National Basketball League of Canada’s St. John’s Edge.
English was given the flick Tuesday night in a 111-103 Edge loss to the Windsor Express at Mile One Centre. It was the first loss in five home games for the expansion St. John’s team.
Things got heated with 6:25 left in the fourth quarter, and the Edge trailing by 10 points, and reached a boiling point with English’s second technical foul and ejection from the game.
The 36-year-old star from Patrick’s Cove withheld himself from booting the basketball into the stands, but did angrily slap the glass behind the player’s bench used for hockey as he rushed off to the St. John’s locker room.
The Edge coaching staff was equally enraged, with assistant Doug Plumb furiously throwing his clipboard to the floor.
In the meantime, 2,963 irritated Edge fans were letting the officiating crew of Craig Parsons, Fred Wakeham and Ryan Langdon know where they stood on the matter.
Afterwards, English was still hot under the collar, and wasn’t mincing his words for the refs.
“The officiating here has been horrendous,” he said of the five games at Mile One. “If you can’t ref at this pace, you have to tell this league that you can’t ref at this pace.
“I don’t want to be on the record and calling people out, but if you’re not competent enough to ref a game like this, then say you can’t take the job.”
Late in the fourth, English was carrying the ball up the floor, and there appeared to be several instances of contact at or before the Edge player reached halfcourt.
A foul was eventually called on Shaquille Keith, but not by Parsons, the official closest to the play.
“He ejected me tonight because he missed a call,” English said of Parsons.
“The call came from the other end (of the court), and I turned to him and said, ‘That’s your call.’ He said he couldn’t see it, and I said, ‘But you’re standing right there.’ And he ejected me.
“I’ve never received more than one technical from the same ref before in my life. And Craig’s given me four in four games. One official has given me four technicals.
“I mean, I’ve never publically criticized anybody before, never said anything, but I wonder if the man has a problem with me.
“If it’s something personal, come talk to me. Don’t let it affect my team. Did the fans pay money to come see them, or pay money to come see us? We’re making a run in the last quarter of the game, and then that happens.”
During English’s castigation, an Edge player walked by, going to great measures to point out, “Can’t have those dudes ref us again.”
English maintains he gets more “respect” from officials away from Mile One Centre.
“Is that messed up? I think that’s very messed up,” he said. “I’m tired sitting back and biting my tongue.
“I’m a star in this league. I don’t say this stuff, but call it like it is, and people who are stars in the league get the calls. I get the calls, but when I’m on the road.
“I didn’t curse him out, and he’s going to eject me at a crucial point in the game? He has to understand it’s an eight- or 10-point game, and there’s six minutes left, a long time in basketball.
“It’s incredibly frustrating.”
English and the Edge are back at it again 7 o’clock Tuesday night against the Express.