The NBAPA may not have a case.
Referees have been instructed to T up players for even thinking about complaining. Aggressive gestures — such as throwing a headband in disgust or punching the air in anger — could end with players getting a one-way ticket to the Chinese Basketball Association.
That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the NBA’s crackdown on complaining is no laughing matter. Fines for technical fouls have doubled, and the Celtics have amassed nine technical fouls in five preseason games. At that rate, they will have 148 during the regular season.
The NBA is where amazing happens. David Stern wants to make sure the league doesn’t become where complaining happens.
There’s nothing wrong with that. Nobody wants to see a bunch of men acting like babies every time a call doesn’t go their way. Fans want to see basketball, not get a lesson in anger mismanagement.
But the commissioner better make sure that referees don’t go overboard with handing out ticky-tack technicals to stars. Making a habit of ejecting big names won’t be good for ticket sales or TV ratings.
The new tech policy is very subjective. Young referees looking to make a name for themselves and get in the good graces of the league office might be more apt to have a quicker whistle than a veteran official. The trouble is, fans aren’t paying hard-earned money to watch zebras stop play and dole out technical fouls.
The best referees are the ones that are invisible. They make the right calls, the game runs smoothly and everybody’s happy. Referees should not become the story.
If they do, the NBA could become where watered-down play happens. And that kind of action won’t be fantastic.
Do you think the NBA’s new technical foul rules are good for the game? Share your thoughts below.