NBA won't punish Carter, Stafford for confrontation

1/3/2009 - NBA Vince Carter New Jersey Nets + more

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The NBA did not take any action against Vince Carter of the New Jersey Nets or a veteran official who used the word 'boy' during a confrontation with the eight-time All Star during a game Wednesday night in Detroit.

Referee Derrick Stafford called two quick technicals on Carter after he argued an out-of-bounds call in the second quarter of the Pistons' 83-75 victory.

A furious Carter went after the official following his ejection and seemed to bump Stafford. Carter had to be held back by teammates.

"We have spoken to both Vince and Derrick about their exchange during Wednesday's game, and decided not to take any action with respect to the language that was used or any inadvertent contact that may have occurred," the league said Friday in a statement provided in an e-mail by spokesman Tim Frank.

"However, we are going to make sure the two of them talk in the near future to clear up any misunderstandings that may remain about what was said during the argument," the statement added.

The league said Stafford "expressed regret for his use of the word 'boy,' and we are persuaded that he did not use it with the intention of demeaning Vince."

Carter did not talk to the media after the game, although he spoke to league officials.

Carter was reluctant to talk about the issue at a shootaround for the Nets' game Friday night against the Atlanta Hawks.

"It's not a big deal, but it's being made a big deal for no reason," said Carter, adding he had no previous history with Stafford. "I'm pretty much over it now. I think I've talked [to enough NBA officials] in one day to last me a lifetime."

Carter said family and friends were surprised to see him so angry.

"It was different," said the usually mild-mannered Carter. "But it's just one of those things. It happened. You just kind of move on from there. It's unfortunate because I think if I was able to be in that game, maybe we could have pulled that game out. It was down to a three-point game. We did a great job to stay in it."

Nets coach Lawrence Frank tried to downplay the incident.

"As Vince would say, it happened, the league dealt with it and we move forward," he said.