JSM 2011 Online Program

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Abstract Details

Activity Number: 562
Type: Topic Contributed
Date/Time: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 : 2:00 PM to 3:50 PM
Sponsor: Section on Statistics in Sports
Abstract - #301188
Title: Perception = Reality? Analyzing Specific Allegations of NBA Referee Bias
Author(s): Ryan M. Rodenberg*+
Companies: Florida State University
Address: 139 Chieftan Way, Tallahassee, FL, 32306-4280,
Keywords: Bias ; Referee/Judges ; Basketball
Abstract:

The National Basketball Association's (NBA) investigation of a gambling scandal involving one of its referees 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 game during a nine year period, neither Javie nor Stafford exhibited any 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.


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