As we all know, NBA players whine about referee calls. Good calls, they whine. Bad calls, they whine. No calls, they whine. Whether it’s the current Celtics, the early 2000’s Pistons, the 90’s . . . well all the teams from the 90’s, there’s certain squads that have never committed a foul. The NBA head office, and Darth Stern in particular, hate this characterization of NBA players. In response, they’ve mandated the refs to hand out technicals for pretty much any prolonged act of whining. The problem with this, of course, is that all players whine and that the word “prolonged” is subjective. Given what I’ve seen in my almost 25 years of watching hoops, there’s a very good chance that a number of superstars will be thrown out of games they would’ve otherwise stayed in because of complaining too long.
This is problematic, as fans come to see the superstars, whining or not. With NBA tickets costing at least $75 a pop for seats that are barely better than watching on HD at home, the NBA is dangerously close to shooting itself in the foot, especially if they do not relax on this policy as the year goes on.
I have a simple, reasonable solution to the problem. Change the rules of the technical foul so that you are only ejected from the game if your technical is the result of physical conflict with a player or ref (or Zeus forbid a fan). Any technicals given for excessive complaining to a call does not count towards ejection. Rather, each technical given for whining results in a fine. In order to be economically fair, each fine will be based on player salary for that game. Let’s say the first tech for whining results in a technical foul equal to 25% of the pay for that game. The second technical results in a fine equal to 50% of the pay for the game. If the player is Rasheed foolish enough to get T’d up a third time, it costs them a fine equal to 100% of the pay for the game. However, you get to stay in the game.
Everyone knows, you want to get to a professional athlete, you hit them in their wallet. That’s a lot better than screwing yourself and your fans.