NBA Referees’ Napoleon Complex Could Affect Gambling Markets
A study published in the latest issue of the Journal of Sports Economics has claimed that NBA referees have Napoleon Complex. Napoleon Complex is a syndrome where people compensate for a perceived disadvantage with overly aggressive behavior.The study, “Napoleon Complex: Height Bias Among National Basketball Association Referees” finds that in general shorter officials call more personal fouls than their taller colleagues.
The study examined 4,463 regular-season games which took place between 2008 and 2012 and found that more fouls are called by a relatively shorter three-person officiating crew and that no more or fewer fouls are called in games played by relatively taller players. This means that the amount of fouls called seems to fluctuate in accordance with the height of the officials.
It found that the shortest group of referees (those less than 6 feet tall) tended to call 4.13 fouls per 48 minutes on each player in the game. The middle group of referees (6 feet to 6-3) called 4.09 fouls per game and the tallest group (6-3 and above) called 4.03 per game.
Over an entire season that works out as eight more personal fouls on each player from the shortest group. However, as the study said, “Such biases are probably not large enough to impact game outcomes.” Nonetheless it added that the disparities “could affect gambling markets.”