It’s A Good Thing ‘Sheed Retired

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Henry Abbot at ESPN reports that NBA referees will have a lot more options when it comes to  calling a technical foul on a player for unprofessional conduct during a game.  The list includes:

• Players making aggressive gestures, such as air punches, anywhere on the court.

• Demonstrative disagreement, such as when a player incredulously raises his hands, or smacks his own arm to demonstrate how he was fouled.

• Running directly at an official to complain about a call.

• Excessive inquiries about a call, even in a civilized tone.

It’s hard to imagine NBA refs will strictly follow these guidelines.  It’s somewhat shocking actually that these behaviors are included in the list of punishable actions.  Many of these are what refs have let slide in order to avoid emotional escalation.  It seems like the NBA is continuing to work on player image.  Maybe the Association took some notice of the World Cup this year, and the vitriolic hate that Americans have for flopping and complaining by the world’s best soccer players.  They only thing they hate more are vuvuzela’s and waiting 90 plus minutes for somebody to score.

How could you call that obvious foul?!? I was made in The Lord's image, fool!

More likely, though, this has to due with The Malice in the Palace, Gilbert Arenas’s gun, and LeBron’s Decision.  The NBA wants to move as far away as possible from the image of its players that are less than flattering to themselves and the Association.  While they cannot control all the behaviors of the players, they can control what happens on court.  They want the players to appear compliant, to focus on the way they played, rather than the calls the officials missed.  As stated in the ESPN article, the Association does not want its players to seem like complainers (let’s just leave alone the implications of mostly white management force not wanting their mostly black labor force looking “uppity.”  There’s not enough space on the internet to deal with that issue).

Of course, there’s also the looming lockout and the politics of making the players compliant with the NBA’s way of doing things – rather than their own.  It’s a message that, whether intended or not, will make its way to the NBPA.  It should do wonders to continue to push results towards a lockout, which heavily favors wealthy owners versus rich players.  Once rich players, who spend like wealthy owners, go without a month or two of pay, they will capitulate and play a shortened season.  That sounds like a familiar scenario, no?

On the one hand, I am actually for less complaining about and to the referees.  I’d actually love to see someone who committed an obvious foul get T’d up for completely unnecessary argument.  On the other hand, the expanded list of prohibitions is so loaded with subtext and issues that I can’t help but think that this is a terrible time to implement them.  Stay tuned for the blowout once a key player gets ejected in the second half of a close game.

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3 Responses to “It’s A Good Thing ‘Sheed Retired”

  1. jpalumbo Says:

    I think if officials are going to enforce these rules, they need to be very consistent and evenhanded about it – even if that means going overboard. For the most part, the stars already get the celebrity treatment when it comes to techs. What would get an Anderson Varejao or Kendrick Perkins a T, would often get a LeBron James a raised eyebrow.

    With all these additional excuses to toss their weight around, the refs need to show that when Charlie Sheen kills a hooker and leaves a pile of cocaine in his smashed up getaway car (dramatization; may not have happened), he gets the same punishment as someone not in a highly rated television broadcast program.

  2. Chris Ross Says:

    Hey man, great blog right here! I think it’s ridiculous that the NBA is going to clamp down further on technical fouls. I was actually thinking that they should be a little more lenient, at least when it has to do with player emotions. There are so many more things that they could be working on but they decide on something so unimportant. It’s crazy. Also, you think you could check out my blog cuz I really wanna hear what you think. http://chrisross91.wordpress.com/2010/09/25/cmon-man/

  3. pmadavi Says:

    Thanks a lot Chris. I will definitely check your site and post some thoughts.

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