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NBL deny Wright's referee racism claims

NZN 4/02/2017 Scott Bailey and Steve Barrett

The NBL has dismissed claims of racism raised again by Adelaide coach Joey Wright over an incident with an official six years ago.

Wright was ejected from the court during Saturday's dramatic 88-87 loss to the New Zealand Breakers, after arguing that a 24-second violation should have been called against the visitors.

Following the match he insisted that referee Brett Hogan be barred from refereeing the club's games, alleging a racial slur from the official six seasons back.

But the league vehemently denied the claims on Sunday night, saying Hogan had "never been found guilty of any charge relating to a racial slur against any participant in the NBL."

"The NBL does not tolerate bullying, harassment or abuse in any form and will continue investigations into the above matters this week," it said in a statement.

The league also denied that a technical foul should have been called after Wright argued that a clock-beating shot attempt didn't touch the rim before going out of court.

"It has been found that the 24 second device went off in error at the 7.24 minute mark in the second quarter when NZ had possession of the ball," the statement read.

"The ball clearly strikes the ring after coming into contact with the hand of Alex Pledger. The referees were correct in allowing the game to continue in this instance."

The league also claimed Wright had been given enough time to calm down before being evicted from courtside.

But the Adelaide coach insisted after the match he was only requesting the officials to consult with the score bench.

"All I was asking for is for them to have a look at it. That's it," Wright said.

"I went over to the score bench, who I thought were extremely aware that it was a violation.

"Just check it out - that's all they had to do, nothing else."

Empathetic Breakers coach Paul Henare called on the league to clarify the acceptable coach-referee conversation boundaries.

"We've seen a couple of instances over the last couple of weeks and I think it's about time the NBL gives another message to the coaches and teams," said Henare, who lost forward Mika Vukona early in the fourth term, turfed out following a technical of his own.

"We can't have guys getting thrown out.

"There were definitely some borderline techs out there."

The loss was Adelaide's second in succession, with the team already having wrapped up the minor premiership.

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