NEWCASTLE Eagles have been left stunned after star man Trey Moore was hit with a five-game ban for swearing at a referee during last month’s controversial defeat at Mersey Tigers.
The BBL handed down the unprecedented punishment to Moore for a “serious breach of the disciplinary code” in the aftermath of a fiery 88-84 reverse to the Tigers on March 22, a game dogged by contentious refereeing.
And while Moore has subsequently sustained a foot injury that has ruled him out of the play-offs and ended his season prematurely, Newcastle are unhappy at the length of the ban.
The Eagles will appeal the suspension, which the Houston-born point guard will have to serve next season as he has already been de-registered to make way for replacement Drew Lasker.
Eagles managing director Paul Blake said: “It has set a heavy precedent and we will be putting in an appeal.
“I don’t condone at all what happened but it was, as far as I understand, in the corridor, out of view of the public. We don’t believe anyone else heard it.
“It is a serious problem for us if it stands because Trey has been de-registered so it would carry over to next season. Obviously it becomes an issue if Trey comes back next season, which is something we’re interested in.
“It does seem overly harsh to us. It is more than 10% of his season and this was a highly, highly charged game that was played between two teams going for the title.
“Let’s put it this way, we have our own issues with that particular game that we’re looking at. We are following up some issues regarding the referees from the game.”
While Moore was given a long ban, complaints against player-coach Fab Flournoy and assistant Dave Forrester which related to the game were both dropped by the BBL disciplinary officer.
Meanwhile Blake is hoping for a full house to cheer on the Eagles as they make their last push for silverware in the play-offs.
They take on Guildford Heat on Friday (tip off, 7.30pm) before travelling to Surrey for the reverse fixture on Saturday. Either the Sheffield Sharks or Glasgow await the winners in the semi-final.
In a measure of how much the Heat fancy their chances they have tried to push forward Saturday’s tip off to 5pm – a move that has been batted back by the BBL authorities.
“We are looking for a huge crowd for this game to give us that one little push we need in the play-offs,” Blake said. “I think this is an incredibly tough game for us and we need to build as big an advantage as possible. We only just won down there in the final week of the season so this is not a ‘gimmie’. In fact, it is as far from that as possible.
“The crowd kept us in the game against the Mersey Tigers at times and we would love that kind of support again on Friday.”
The club held its end of season dinner on Monday night at the Gosforth Marriott, crowning Charles Smith as the player’s player of the year while Forrester won an award for outstanding contribution in recognition of the way he juggled a full-time solicitor’s job with the head coach role after Flournoy fell ill with pneumonia.
For tickets go to www.newcastle-eagles.com or ring the club on 01912453880. Tip off is at 7.30pm – you can also pay on the day.