He talks about seeing a trend of letting minor infractions go which always seem to morph into bigger problems down the road. Like many phenomena, unsportsmanlike behavior always seems to escalate in the absence of challenge. We rely on referees to avoid the downfall of the general public which has become slowly, albeit increasingly, immune to more and more acts of incivility and disrespectful behavior. From the comfort of our couches, we watch games and occasionally murmur to ourselves "hmm...that was kind of rude" or "he didn't really need to point his finger and pull out his uniform at his chest like that." If our referees become like us, we are in trouble. It's the easier path to swallow the whistle but we know the slope is slippery. You let one call go, then another, then before you know it you have a player pulling out a sharpie from his sock and signing a ball in the middle of a game.
The Guardian recently reported on a study of Israeli judges that indicated that judges were more lenient early in the day or after they took a lunch break. Maybe we need make sure our referees head on to the court sleep and food-deprived. We might have crankier referees but maybe they'd be more inclined to call a tight game.
It would be interesting to see the changes in patterns of foul-calling over the years. Have referees become more lax only in calling unsportsmanlike behavior? Or are they calling the game more loosely all the way around? And, if Mr. Adams is correct, what exactly is influencing them to NOT enforce unsportsmanlike behavior?