Tag:technical fouls
Posted on: October 21, 2010 9:39 pm

Stern: Players, refs will adjust to new tech rule

NEW YORK – Lost in David Stern’s no soup for you proclamation Thursday about slashing player salaries by one-third was this nugget from the NBA commissioner: There is “widespread support” among NBA owners for the league-ordered crackdown on players’ complaining, and the referees will have to adjust to the new enforcement, too.

“In some cases, players were a little confused,” Stern said, referring to the flurry of preseason technical fouls resulting from the lower tolerance for complaining and demonstrative protests about calls. “They’re being illuminated with respect to it. In some cases, a referee might have reacted too soon, and they’re being alerted to it. So overall, we think it’s moving its way. We don’t take it as a major problem.”

Stern went so far as to invite the National Basketball Players Association – with which the NBA is locked in a challenging labor negotiation – to “exercise all of their rights” in challenging the league’s new guidelines. The day after the CelticsKevin Garnett was ejected with a double-technical last week against the Knicks, the union threatened to file a grievance with the National Labor Relations Board over the NBA’s anti-whining campaign.

“We’ll be talking to them,” Stern said of the union. “I don’t think it’s going to come to that. I think you’ll see that they will come to understand that we actually have a joint goal here. To have the greatest athletes in the world whining up and down the court is nothing that anyone that loves this game would want to see. … This, to me, is about protecting and promoting the players.”

While Stern gave a little ground in admitting that some referees have overstepped in the early enforcement of the anti-whining rule, he tried to take the ground back with this statement: “I think the players will do more adjusting than the referees, but there will be some referee adjustments as well. I don’t think it’s going to be a problem.

“They’re the best athletes in the world,” Stern said. “And they do have passion, intensity, teamwork and the like. We just think if we can clear the stage for them to demonstrate those skills, and they’re not perceived as debaters and whining, that elevates them to a place where they should be.”

Several players have spoken out publicly against the new guidelines, which call for an end to emotional outbursts over referees’ calls as well as repetitive complaining about the officiating during the games. The owners, however, are on board with the league’s determination to clean up the whining.

“The owners are behind that,” Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said after the league’s Board of Governors meeting wrapped up at the St. Regis Hotel. “We all see that as the best for the game – not only for the appearance of the game, but it’ll speed the game up by having the players not demonstrate or talk too much.”

Stu Jackson, the NBA’s executive vice president for basketball operations who is overseeing enforcement of the new policy, showed the owners video examples of techs that have been called or not called during the preseason to drive home the point that a middle ground can be achieved. Taylor said the owners were “pretty comfortable that it was being handled all right.”

“If we say to our players, ‘You can’t go up and throw your fist in the air in the face of a referee,’ they stop that, and they run over to the other side [of the court] and they throw their fist in the air,” Stern said. “We say, ‘OK, guys, stop it.’ Guess what? They’re stopping it. … They know exactly how to adjust. They will adjust here and the referees will call fair games, and our fans will have a better appreciation for how good our players really are.”

Posted on: October 15, 2010 8:22 pm

Source: League won't cave on tech issue

NBA players complaining about new rules designed to stop complaining won't result in league executives rethinking the crackdown, a person with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com Friday.

"I don't think it will have any effect," said the person, who has knowledge of the NBA's strategy but wasn't authorized to discuss it.

So after a flurry of technical fouls and a stridently worded threat of legal action from the National Basketball Players Association, it appears that the NBA and its players' union are headed for a showdown only months before the collective bargaining agreement is set to expire.

After the Celtics' Kevin Garnett was ejected Wednesday night in the latest incident highlighting the league's crackdown on whiners, the NBPA issued a statement calling the rule changes "unnecessary and unwarranted," saying they could cause a "stifling of the players’ passion and exuberance for their work" and "may actually harm our product."

"The changes were made without proper consultation with the Players Association, and we intend to file an appropriate legal challenge," the statement said.

There has been no public comment from commissioner David Stern or any of his lieutenants in light of the NBPA's threat. But the person with knowledge of league's strategy said officials are determined to put a stop to constant complaining about calls and verbal abuse of officials and won't cave as a result of the NBPA's threat.

The closest parallel in recent showdowns between the NBA and the union came during the 2006-07 season, when league executives backtracked on their switch to a synthetic Spalding ball after years of using a leather ball. The synthetic ball was widely panned by players, and the union filed a grievance with the National Labor Relations Board saying it wasn't consulted about what amounted to a drastic change in working conditions.

(I know those of you who work in the real world are snickering, but this is the terminology that the lawyers use to arrive at common-sense solutions that are obvious to the rest of us.)

After a few weeks, the league pulled the synthetic ball and went back to leather -- though not necessarily in response to the players' grievance. It turns out players were receiving what amounted to paper cuts from the rougher surface of the ball.

This is different -- in a way. On one hand, nobody's health is being endangered by the NBA's crackdown on complaining. But the league did increase the fines for technical fouls, and players' ability to perform could be affected if they're whistled for techs, ejected, or suspended for piling up too many techs. Then there's just the small matter that nobody wants to watch that.

Some -- like Matt Moore of the Facts & Rumors blog -- say too bad. Don't have tantrums like a 5-year-old in the school yard, and you won't be assessed any technical fouls. I say the solution is somewhere in the middle. Clearly, nobody wants to see NBA players griping about every call and non-call. The gesturing, cursing, pointing and other expressions of disbelief that various players possibly could've committed a foul ... all that has to go. But nobody wants to pay hundreds of dollars to sit in the stands and watch Kobe Bryant get ejected from a game under these new rules. (And believe me, he will.)

In the end, this won't be solved by grievances, lawsuits or other complaining. (Complaining, after all, is what the league is trying to get rid of.) It'll be solved when league officials figure out how to communicate to the referees exactly how far is too far -- and when the refs get a better feel for how to enforce this new normal of on-court behavior. And yes, it'll be solved when the players adjust to their new boundaries.

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