Blog Entry

NBA makes changes to technical foul guidelines

Posted on: September 24, 2010 3:51 am
Edited on: September 24, 2010 11:52 am
New rule set outlaws complaints of nearly any kind to officials, "aggressive" gestures.
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 reports that the rules are built to limit the following:
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.
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.

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.

Since: Feb 21, 2008
Posted on: September 25, 2010 4:56 pm

NBA makes changes to technical foul guidelines

It will be a nice change not to have to watch Tim Duncan everytime he's fouled.  It's as if it is impossible for him to commit a foul.  Can't wait to wait the first Spurs game.

Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: September 25, 2010 2:04 pm

NBA makes changes to technical foul guidelines

 I hope the league actually follows through with these new guidelines, but I have my doubts. I think the worst violator (by a wide margin) is Kobe Bryant. He usually gets the phantom foul calls when he ventures into the paint, but when he doesn't he runs straight to the refs and bitches and moans. Ive never seen a star player complain as often as he does to get foul calls. Kobe is brutal.

Since: Feb 1, 2009
Posted on: September 25, 2010 10:54 am

NBA makes changes to technical foul guidelines

I agree!
The ref's need to police themselves. They do have favorites. That needs to be cleaned up!

I love this rule, as long as the ref's will enforce it against the elite players as well. "IF" they do....Then San Antonio will have the MOST technicals in the league!! All the elite players need to stop the whinning and just play hoops! I am talking about:

Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, Melo, etc... We all know who the whinners are..."T" em up and let's get on with the game!

Since: Aug 18, 2008
Posted on: September 25, 2010 7:00 am

NBA makes changes to technical foul guidelines

A few years ago the league tried to do the same thing and cut down on the amount of complaining by players.  Then there were certian "SUPERSTARS" (KOBE) that were still allowed to do what they were trying to stop so they seemed to relaxed the rule and you never heard another thing about it.  I'll be surprised to see if this "Guideline" will actually help.  For some players it's more part of their game than the actually shot taking involved in the sport.  We will see.

Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: September 25, 2010 2:12 am

NBA makes changes to technical foul guidelines

Damn good post by Kisha21.

It's ridiculous how if you're a star player, all you have to do is run straight into defenders and they'll be called for blocks, or take a shot shot where you throw your arms into the defender's arm, and it's called a hack.

Since: Aug 25, 2009
Posted on: September 25, 2010 1:16 am

NBA makes changes to technical foul guidelines

This is ridiculous. Basketball is an emotional game. Yes you have some players who are infamous floppers, and you have way too much complaining and whining, but a lot of that is the referees' own fault in my humble opinion. As flipst@r so correctly commented, why can't the NBA make the referees stop calling favorites and allowing some players to get away with anything, while putting other players under a microscope. Shaquille O'Neal has had to deal with that for his entire career - I recall a play during his time in Miami (I think) where he simply stood there and a smaller player (Tony Parker, wasn't it?) crashed into him. Who got a flagrant foul? Shaq! Huh??? As for Mr. Moore's supercilious comment,

If you're a superstar, you're likely getting the calls you deserve. If you're not, that's part of the game

I'm sorry but that is totally wrong. Rules are rules. Comments like that echo te arrogance of our so-called betters in DC, who think compliance with the law of the land is only required for the little people! If a rule is in the rulebook, then it should be enforced fairly, regardless of who the players involved might be. I'll have more to say on that topic below.

As I said, basketball, like all sports, is an emotional game. And by trying to bottle up the players' reactions on the court, the NBA risks exacerbating the problem. The referees need to understand that they are not gods, and get over it. When here is a disputed call, let the players blow off some steam. Most of these guys are mature enough to know how to complain in a fairly professional manner. And a little emotion is not a bad thing. This is a pressure-packed competition out there and these guys have a lot on the line. Trying to make them behave as if they were in a garden party sipping tea is not the way to go. 

Now let's talk about the referees. Every one of us on this site have watched games where the refs were blatantly obvious as far as allowing one team to play one way and not allowing the other team to play that way. All of us can point to games and say 'That was some terrible officiating!'. Now I happen to believe that officiating an NBA game is probably the most difficult of all officiating jobs. No other sport save hockey forces the players and officials to make decisions so rapidly and so close together. And no other sport has so many judgement calls. Charge or block anyone? However, that being said, I think that the officials need to stop with he superstar calls. Sorry, I'm a Laker fan and I will be the first to admit that Kobe gets away with traveling. A lot. So call it! 

Why does LeBron James get to charge into people and they get called for a block? Why does Luis Scola get to set moving screens all the time and yet Dwight Howard is called for a foul as soon as he touches someone, regardless of whether or not his feet are set? Why do teams with defensive reputations such as the current Boston Celtics or the 1980s-1990s Detroit Pistons (and Pat Riley's 1990s Knicks and Heat teams too, for that matter) get to play a rough and tough physical game with hard contact that is never whistled while teams perceived as being finesse-oriented (the Phoenix Suns come to mind fairly quickly) are called for touch fouls? In the same game! If it's a foul on one end of the court, then it should be a foul on the other end. Period. 

And it shouldn't matter how many fouls a super-star has. If he has five and he commits number six, call it! I can't count the number of times I've seen a super-star commit a foul that wasn't called because the referees didn't want to put him on he bench. Call games consistently at both ends, guys! That is all we fans ask. If Player Journeyman digging an elbow into Player Superstar's ribs while trying to establish position is a foul, then Player Superstar doing the same thing to Player Journeyman should also be a foul. But we all know this is not the case. Not necessarily with the players I mentioned above, but we have all seen super-stars get away with behavior that players with lesser reputations would be whistled for in an instant. CALL THE GAMES CONSISTENTLY!!!!

So, getting off my hobby-horse here, I think that this decision by the NBA is a bad idea all around. Referees are human; they make mistakes. Players get upset and yell at referees. That is the way it should be. Referees should be mature enough to handle another man telling them that they blew the call. A good referee will agree and tell the player, "You're right - I blew it." Now that lets out crybabies like Violet Palmer and control freaks like Joe Crawford and Mr. Technical (Steve Javie) but most of the refs should be mature enough to do this. Let the players blow off a little steam. if they cross the line (physical contact or personal insults would be my own litmus test), then sure, 'T' them up. But otherwise let it go. You're a man. You can handle it.

In conclusion, I disagree with this new rule. I think that the players should be toning down their theatrics, but the refs should also be doing a much better job of being consistent and fair than they currently do. And I also think that players do get emotional.Trying to stop that on the court is a Really Bad Idea. Everyone involved is an adult and ought to be able to handle a little adult criticism. Anyway, those are my two cents worth on this decision.

Since: Jul 22, 2010
Posted on: September 24, 2010 11:46 pm

NBA makes changes to technical foul guidelines

I understand these guys are grown men but some of this is BS...reason is cause some refs are douchebags. Especially if they betted on a team, they will get at players on purpose just so there team could win. IMO, worst thing you could do is give a ref more authority than what they need.  I mean yes those things should said to be limited but...a rule of em is kinda ridiculous..if every team and player is treated fairly then im all for it..but if they let "Ole Dirty Kobe" get away with some of the things he do, then Im ranting to

Since: Sep 25, 2008
Posted on: September 24, 2010 10:19 pm

NBA makes changes to technical foul guidelines

Steve Javie can't quit smiling now.

Since: May 21, 2010
Posted on: September 24, 2010 9:42 pm

NBA makes changes to technical foul guidelines

They are just looking to add more drama and create more hype for sportscenter we already know who will get t up the most

Since: Sep 2, 2009
Posted on: September 24, 2010 3:49 pm

NBA makes changes to technical foul guidelines

I am all for trimming the "decoration", but I think the best point you make here is "...three to four weeks in, the players will adjust, the behavior will change...". If that is the case, why not fix the referees? Get them to call everything. No more favourites. Surely once they do this "...early in the season, but three to four weeks in, the players will adjust, the behavior will change, and things will" IMPROVE instead of just being a blight on the game year after year.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or