March 6 (UPI) -- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was fined $500,000 for publicly criticizing NBA officials, the league office announced Friday.
In the NBA's statement, the league said Cuban was disciplined for "public criticism and detrimental conduct regarding NBA officiating."
The NBA also denied the Mavs' protest of their Feb. 22 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. The Mavericks' loss to the Hawks prompted Cuban to confront referees on the court and to criticize them on social media and while speaking to reporters.
The league said in its statement that Cuban's comments were "highly critical, personal and demeaning to the league and its officiating staff," and that he continued to publicly chastise the officiating over the next few days.
"It is a recognized part of sports for fans and the media at times to criticize officiating, but team executives must be held to a higher standard," the NBA said. "A team owner's effort to influence refereeing decisions during and after a game creates the perception of an unfair competitive advantage and thereby undermines the integrity of the game.
"Demeaning league employees also creates an intimidating workplace environment. With an increased focus on respectful conduct by coaches, players and fans during games, the actions of team executives should set an example and not lower expectations for appropriate behavior in our arenas."
In the Mavs' loss to Atlanta, Cuban was upset that officials counted a putback by Hawks big man John Collins with 8.4 seconds left after a goaltending call that was reversed upon a review. The decision eventually led to the Hawks' victory over Dallas.
The fine marked Cuban's third of at least $500,000 as the owner of the Mavericks. He was fined $600,000 in February 2018 for publicly admitting that his team was tanking. He was also handed a $500,000 fine in January 2002 for comments on the league's officiating after a loss to the San Antonio Spurs.