Posted by Matt Moore
The NBA is mad as hell about NBA players being mad as hell. The league announced at the annual referees meeting Thursday that it is expanding the definitions for conduct leading to technical fouls next season, with most of the rules geared to curtail players complaints to officials. Henry Abbott of ESPN.com reports that the rules are built to limit the following:
Players making aggressive gestures, such as air punches, anywhere on the court.Let's get this one out the way. "Man, it's a good thing Sheed retired!" Or, if you prefer, "Man, the league was nice enough to wait for Sheed to leave before doing this!" Personally, I prefer the cutting edge "We should just call this 'The Demarcus Counsins Rule'" joke.
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.
There are going to be complaints about how this somehow limits players' emotions, or is too restrictive, but let's be honest. If you're a superstar, you're likely getting the calls you deserve. If you're not, that's part of the game, and you barking in a ref's ear isn't going to do anything but irritate casual fans that tune in and then are disgusted by the petulant behavior the players partake in when they're whistled for anything they disagree with.
The rules don't limit the ability of the players to talk to officials, it just puts up barriers for the refs to say "enough." And it doesn't remove the agony of defeat or the joy of victory from the game, it simply takes out Tim Duncan's bug-eyes and Kendrick Perkins' pout-sessions. And there's no way that's not better for the game. If an official needs correction from a player, the refs in trouble anyway. This is besides the fact that the players really should just treat the officials like an Act of God. Sometiems they work in your favor, often they cause you distress, but there's nothing you can do about it, so perhaps you should just learn to live with it.
The same concern over the number of techs being called was issued prior to the league's anti-flop rule, which actually cut down on the overly dramatic ones to a considerable degree. There may be a number of techs shot early in the season, but three to four weeks in, the players will adjust, the behavior will change, and things will return to normal. There will still be players who think they're always fouled or that they never foul, and there will always be bad calls. But perhaps this move can cut down on the amount of what Henry Rollins once referred to as "decoration" on the floor.