What’s up with Scott Foster?

Some NBA Referees have been getting a bad rep this past week, particuarly Scott Foster.

It’s been another spicy episode involving the NBA veteran and it’s the kind of news that’s inflamed player and fan’s sentiment again.

Now, it’s tough to be a ref. Whether it’s tossing players on the basketball court or ruling out goals on the rink, it takes some grit to persevere through whinging players and bawling coaches.

What we’ve seen from the likes of Scott Foster has definitely got people talking.

Let’s find out what’s been happening shall we?

Monday Night

So Monday night is where our latest run-in with Foster takes place.

Toronto Raptors were in a critical showdown with the Denver Nuggets and needed to beat them in order to even out their W/L record and aim for 8th place in the Eastern Conference ranking, ahead of Atlanta.

This wouldn’t happen. While Raptors were leading by six with only six minutes left to play, Scottie Barnes would question Foster’s decisions. It would not go well.

Foster would eject Barnes from the game at a critical moment. He gave him a technical under the justification of ‘verbiage which directly questioned the integrity of the crew.’

Nuggets would pull past the Raptors to win the game 118 – 113, leaving Raptors in 9th. With the Playoffs looming, a loss here just means even more work for Raptors.

Past decisions

2KC9FC8 Orlando, Florida, USA, November 3, 2022, Golden State Warriors Guard Stephen Curry makes a face during the game at the Amway Center. (Photo Credit: Marty Jean-Louis) Credit: Marty Jean-Louis/Alamy Live News

It’s certainly not the first case of Foster’s decisions receiving the venom of players and fans.

He’s been accused of bias by some teams and formal complaints have been made about him on several occasions, particularly in decisions on Playoff games.

The 2018 Western Conference Finals were allegedly mired with strange calls from Foster in Game 1 and Game 7 between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets.

In Game 1, according to an NBA report, the Warriors Stephen Curry should’ve been fouled twice and Klay Thompson travelled. In both cases, the Crew had missed them.

There were more strange calls in Game 7 forcing the Rockets to file a formal complaint suggesting that Foster had favoured the Warriors.

Who is Foster?

2J5HJKN Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid applauds game official Scott Foster as he walks off the court following his team?Aos 102-110 loss to the Toronto Raptors after second half NBA first round playoff action in Toronto, Saturday, April 23, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Scott Foster has been officiating over NBA games for almost three decades, that’s over 1600 games and over 220 Playoff games in 28 seasons.

Over that period of time he’s caught the venom of fans and players and their feelings on him are pretty frank.


W0G4JH Los Angeles Lakers’ Matt Barnes goes to the basket against Washington Wizards Kirk Hinrich during the fourth quarter at the Verizon Center in Washington on December 14, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch

Reflections on his character have suggested that he has a short fuse, doesn’t listen, is easy to annoy and struggles to build relationships with the stars.

NBA player, Matt Barnes once described Foster as, ‘terrible’.

The Golden State Warriors Small Forward was being interviewed on the ‘The Herd with Colin Cowherd’, where he said it was ‘a known thing’

‘It’s his arrogance, the way he carries himself, the way he looks down on people like he’s better than them.

‘He acts like people pay a bunch of money to see him.  A sign of a good ref is to know he’s not there. Scott Foster is someone who takes everything personal. You can’t take talk to him.’

ESPN had a hot take too

2HRYWDE Boston Celtics’ Paul Pierce (right) drives at Toronto Raptors’ Linas Kleiza during first half NBA basketball action in Toronto Sunday, January 2, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Around about the same time, ESPN were commenting on Foster’s officiating for Game 2 of the Golden State Warriors vs Houston Rockets game and their pundits were pretty frank.

The then-Sportswriter and ESPN pundit Jackie MacMullan said that all the teams in the NBA had a problem with him.

‘I think if you ask all the teams in the US NBA, everybody has a problem with Scott Foster.

‘Now I’m not saying he’s not a good official, because I think he is, but from what I hear from players, he doesn’t like to listen to what players have to say and he has a bit of a short fuse.’


Fellow pundit and former player Paul Pierce said that he struggled to have a relationship big the stars. He also stressed that you had to be concise when you made a claim against a decision, otherwise you risked being ejected.

‘Every referee has their own personality he’s just not one you mess with. It shouldn’t be like that because when you look at it, it’s Stars like Harden, DeRozen, Chris Paul, he’s getting into a lid with them.

‘You’ve got to be able to listen to the players, have that relationship. I don’t feel he has a relationship amongst the superstars in the League.’

Not just Foster this week

November 28, 2022, Toronto, ON, CAN: Toronto Raptors’ Fred VanVleet reacts during NBA basketball action against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Toronto, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. (Credit Image: © Chris Young/The Canadian Press via ZUMA Press)

While the tensions over Barnes’ ejection gradually died down from Monday, another referee decision (although not as a egregious) would result in an expletive fuelled commentary from Fred VanVleet.

The Toronto Raptors would be facing off against Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night and a technical foul handed to VanVleet in the third quarter from veteran referee Ben Taylor, would lead to fresh anger against the refs.

VanVleet disagreed with the call and would go on to publicly criticise Taylor’s judgment.

‘Most of the refs try hard, I like a lot of the refs. They’re pretty fair, they communicate well. And then you got the other ones who just want to be XXXXX and that kind of XXXXX the game up. Nobody wants to see that.

‘I’ll take a fine I don’t really care. I thought Ben Taylor was XXXXX terrible tonight. On most nights, out of the three there’s usually one or two that just XXXX the game up.’

You’ll get your fine

Players are not allowed to speak publicly about officiating and VanVleet was duly fined $30K on March 10th.

Posted on: 10 Mar 2023