A handful of Northern Nevada high school basketball referees have opted not to work McQueen boys varsity games for at least the rest of this season following last week's disparaging comments of the job they did by Lancers coach John Franklin.
Franklin took to Twitter to question the fitness, bias and dedication of the area's game officials. Franklin's 16 posts across two days followed a series of like-minded text sentiments to Skip Luckadoo, Northern Nevada Basketball Officials Association president, and earned Franklin a one-game suspension.
It also created tension among the referee community when it comes to Franklin's team.
The NIAA used a three-man crew from Winnemucca for McQueen's home game against North Valleys on Friday. Things were back to normal for Tuesday's game at Douglas, but Luckadoo said some officials in his association expressed a desire not be assigned McQueen games in the future.
"Some officials don't want to be in that predicament," Luckadoo told the RGJ on Wednesday. "Coach Franklin's comments stung all of us. There are a lot of people who put in a lot of time to this avocation. I would have loved for John to say, 'Hey, I want to talk to you about something,' rather than going public with his frustrations."
For his part, Franklin expressed some regret in his first public comments since the suspension.
"What I regret is the forum," Franklin said. "I was less than professional. I have zero complaints with the officiating (Tuesday) night.
"We all need to move forward from this."
Both Luckadoo and Jay Beesemyer, assistant director at the NIAA, also expressed the desire to get beyond last week's events.
"This needs to go away and go away quickly," Beesemyer said. "It can be hard to convince all parties of that. But time heals all."
Luckadoo, an official of 10 years and NNBOA president the last two, did not attempt to say his colleagues are perfect. He did say, as a whole, the group is getting better than it was five or 10 years ago, despite the loss of a handful of "top officials" who left the area in the last five years or so.
"We are a chapter that takes our craft seriously and that dedicates itself and prepares itself to doing the best possible job every game," said Luckadoo, who oversees 115 referees, including 68 at the varsity level, for both boys and girls games. "The perfect game from an official's standpoint is that no one got hurt, everyone left safely and the right team won."
Luckadoo referenced the clinics and tests -- both physical and written -- officials participate in each preseason.
"The guys who do this are prepared to do it," Luckadoo said, "... and when anyone makes public comments like Coach Franklin did, it hurts that integrity."