September 24, 2010
During the 2005-06 season the NBA instituted rules that would allow referees to give a player technical fouls at the first sign of a player's disagreement. That lasted for the preseason and then, oh, about six games in to the regular season before things were back to normal and players were complaining their eyes out. Not literally, because that would be gross. Tim Duncan(notes) was close though.
Anyways, starting this season, the NBA is taking it back to the halcyon days of 05-06, giving referees the power to assess technical fouls for even the smallest complaints. ESPN's Henry Abbott has the hook up, holler if you hear him.
At the referees' annual meeting in Jersey City, N.J., on Thursday, the league announced the guidelines for technical fouls will expand to include "overt" player reactions to referee calls.
Referees have been instructed to call a technical for:
• 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.
In addition, referees have been instructed to consider calling technicals on players who use body language to question or demonstrate displeasure, or say things like, "Come on!" They can also consider technicals for players who "take the long path to the official", walking across the court to make their case.
Oh, well that explains why Rasheed Wallace(notes) is retiring. No need to come back if he's going to be T'd up every time he yells "ball don't lie." Let's just be thankful those old rules never stuck, or else this blog would be called "Polite Disagreement," which isn't nearly as catchy.
It'll be interesting to see how this actually plays out. Two of the NBA's biggest stars — Dwight Howard(notes) and Kobe Bryant(notes) — were in the top four for technicals last season, and that's with the more relaxed guidelines. These guys like to complain, and if the NBA is allowing referees to hand out technicals for more and more gestures it's likely that the league will see some of its best players hitting the showers earlier than they'd expect. That's part of the reason the old strict rules didn't stick, and it'll constantly be a battle for refs to decide if a first quarter "Come on!" is worth giving a technical when it's likely the same thing could happen later in the fourth quarter of a close game. As much as the NBA wants to clean up its product, they're also going to want their stars playing at the end of tight games. We'll see if this lasts.
At the very least, we the people need to make sure these guidelines don't get in to the hands of park district coordinators around the globe. If rec league refs started calling technicals like this, then there would be no rec leagues left to play in thanks to all the ejections. If there's one thing that rec league players do as well as NBA players, it's complain. I mean, there's no way I fouled that guy when I was on the complete other side of the lane, and if you had half a brain you'd know that. Just sayin'.
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