Oh, for the good old days, when the phrase T.O. controversy involved a shirtless wide receiver doing sit-ups in his driveway. The NBA and the NHL playoffs have been awash in timeout-related kerfuffles. First, Rockets guard Patrick Beverley tried to steal the ball from Russell Westbrook as the Thunder point guard was calling timeout during Game 2 of their first-round series; Westbrook left the collision with a torn knee ligament, and Beverley got death threats on Twitter (allegedly from an Oklahoma City ball boy). Then on Sunday, Canadiens coach Michel Therrien called his Senators counterpart, Paul MacLean, "classless" for taking a timeout with 18 seconds left in a brawl-filled Game 3 that Ottawa would win 6--1. (To be fair, it can be argued that MacLean was well within his rights to rub things in, having earlier been called a "bug-eyed fat walrus" by Montreal forward Brandon Prust.)
Such controversy is nothing new, of course. In 2008, Florida coach Urban Meyer called two timeouts at the end of a 39-point victory over Georgia to get back at the Bulldogs for celebrating an '07 win over Florida a little too enthusiastically. And Roger Federer took a bathroom timeout at the 2010 Aussie Open because the sun was in his eyes.
So with the trend showing no signs of abating, here's a message to everyone who insists on getting up in arms when a ref raises his to stop play, no matter how scandalous: Calm down, or we'll put you in timeout.
KEN MCKIMM/ICON SMI (MEYER)