ACC handling ref's snub of UNC's Berry 'internally'

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The official's message to a complaining Joel Berry - talk to the hand (or back).

North Carolina lost a heartbreaker last night in Tallahassee, twice overcoming large deficits only to fall 81-80 to yet another talented Leonard Hamilton team. There's plenty to discuss about the loss, but much of the conversation a day later has churned around the interaction between Tar Heels guard Joel Berry and official Ted Valentine.

With roughly 7 minutes to go in the game and UNC trailing, Berry was leaking out on a fast break opportunity. After he appeared to be held by FSU's Terrance Mann briefly, an attempted pass his way sailed over Berry's head and out of bounds. Turnover back to the Noles. One of many missed opportunities for Carolina.

Here's the rub -- when Berry grabbed the ball and went over to Valentine to discuss not getting a foul call on the play, Valentine, in his trademark style, theatrically turned his back on Berry. It looked like the stubborn last stand of a 2-year old being asked to help clean up the playroom. (Believe me, I know of what I speak).

While Valentine is indisputably one of the best officials in the game, his seemingly purposeful hysterics are a source of much comedy, and in this case, some deserved consternation. Berry is UNC's undisputed team leader and as such, should serve as a conduit to the officials when necessary. It's Valentine's choice whether to engage Berry or not, but making a big show of turning his back was silly. Berry, who appeared to be approaching Valentine respectfully, deserves better and Valentine should know that kind of nonsense is beneath him.

The ACC's new boss in charge of officiating, former ref Bryan Kersey, is obviously a believer in Valentine's officiating skill, if his league scheduling is any indicator:



When I followed up with the ACC office to see if any further action might be taken regarding the incident, Associate Commissioner for Communications Brian Morrison sent me this statement: "We are aware of what occurred and are addressing it internally."

What that means - only the league knows. I don't think Valentine deserves any punishment per se, but for me, the incident certainly warrants a phone call from his boss, Kersey. "Teddy, we like you, you do great work, but that was bush league. You know it, I know it, the American people know it. Cut it out." Or something like that anyway.

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