Posted on: April 11, 2011 10:31 pm
Edited on: April 11, 2011 10:45 pm
Posted by Matt Moore
Kobe Bryant has picked up his fair share (more than, really) of technicals this season. But as he inched closer to a one game suspension (with only two games remaining), he's been granted a step back that will ensure he won't be missing those final games... at least, against his will. ESPN LA reports that the league has rescinded Bryant's 15th technical issued Sunday night during a scrum with Kendrick Perkins. Looking at the play, it's pretty easy to see why.
Perkins was sending a message to Bryant, but Bryant can't be blamed for retaliating in that situation. The only way Bryant would have to serve a one-game suspension on Wednesday versus the Kings is if he were to pick up two technicals against San Antonio... which is not entirely out of the question, but still pretty unlikely.
Bryant at once skates away with too much in terms of his reaction to calls and contact, and also takes more than his fair share of abuse that goes uncalled. In the playoffs, he'll need to maintain composure, as sometimes it fires up his team, and sometimes it just, you know, costs them a point. On the other end of it, keep an eye out if Perkins and Bryant meet in the playoffs.
Los Angeles entered Monday night tied with Dallas for the second seed, and just a game above OKC in the fourth seed. So they could probably use Bryant at least versus San Antonio. But then, the Lakers may rest him anyway, making the whole question moot.
Posted on: October 15, 2010 2:55 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Not a ton of people are loving the new technical foul rules that enforce a quicker whistle. In fact, some may even feel it's "stupid." One such large player (in more ways than one) also doesn't love the new quick whistle and of course, this player isn't shy.
Shaquille O'Neal talked to reporters today and shared his feelings on the new stricter rule:
"I just think that if you give those guys that much control you might as well start selling their jerseys at Footlocker. This is an emotional game. I know when I pay the money to different arenas and I take my sons and my daughters, I want to see everything. I want to see them talking smack, I want to see it all. You can’t try to just cut off an emotional game — expect people not to have emotion.
There's definitely two sides to this issue. One says, "Come on. You can control what you do. I understand an emotional outburst but it makes no sense to keep talking and complaining. Just walk away!" The other says, "Basketball is an emotional game and players get caught up in it. Part of the game is working officials and it's impossible for them to stay consistent with these calls."
Me personally, I don't mind smack talking, but watching a player whine after every call gets really old and annoying (I'm looking at you , Tim Duncan Face.) I think the NBA realizes how it makes the game look like a whiner sport. The way the rule is laid out, it says you can react, but don't carry on. Doesn't that seem fair? Players have the opportunity to let out the uncontrolled outburst, but they just need to zip it and get over it shortly thereafter.
More than likely, the NBA will cave and relax the rules. They've tried this kind of enforcement before, but it didn't hold up. They've got to stick to it if they want it to work. And I hope they didn't just use preseason to really emphasize it only to back off in the regular season. Give this half a season and players will start shaping up. Let a guy pick up a big technical late in a game and maybe he'll think twice about badgering an official for an extended time.
I do kind of like Shaq's line about selling the referree's jerseys. It's pretty annoying when an official inserts himself into a game and tries to prove a point. I agree there. And I guess that's what the heart of this debate is.
But I don't know Shaq, I can't really say I'd be in the market for a Bill Kennedy replica jersey. Not my thing, I guess.
Posted on: October 14, 2010 9:50 pm
Player's Union intends to file suit against league for rule regarding player's acting like four-year-olds.
Posted by Matt Moore
Tantrums. That's apparently what the NBA's Player's Union feels is the hill to push litigation over . Not a better pension plan, or fewer regular season games, or even revenue sharing, apparently. They're going to pursue litigation over their right to stomp and yell and scream and curse the officials who are only doing their jobs. Because, really, when you think about it, that's what the Union needs most of all.
Perhaps you were curious about what the union is actually saying. Here's their press release, courtesy of KB:
The new unilateral rule changes are an unnecessary and unwarranted overreaction on the league’s behalf. We have not seen any increase in the level of “complaining” to the officials and we believe that players as a whole have demonstrated appropriate behavior toward the officials. Worse yet, to the extent the harsher treatment from the referees leads to a stifling of the players’ passion and exuberance for their work, we fear these changes 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.
Let's go through this line by line, in the most often-replicated-never-really-dupli
cated way possible, shall we?
"The new unilateral rule changes are an unnecessary and unwarranted overreaction on the league’s behalf."
Unnecessary. An ironic word to use since, considering no referee has ever reversed a call on the basis of a player's complaint, the complaint in and of itself is unnecessary. So the rule to prevent unnecessary actions is unnecessary, which would of course make the complaints necessary, but they of course are not necessary. Now, that's some faulty logic, but the point's still the same. The rule is necessary. It's how it's execute that you can argue may not be.
"We have not seen any increase in the level of 'complaining' to the officials and we believe that players as a whole have demonstrated appropriate behavior toward the officials. "
I'll believe there's been no increase, but that doesn't mean the level is appropriate. Because it's not. Watch Tim Duncan. Or Kobe Bryant. Or even Kendrick Perkins. Or, you know, Kevin Garnett (or look at the gigantic picture above). Even Celtics fans complained about how much the team complained last year. But maybe that's just an accent thing.
"Worse yet, to the extent the harsher treatment from the referees leads to a stifling of the players’ passion and exuberance for their work, we fear these changes may actually harm our product."
This as opposed to players taking games off in the middle of the season because they're "bored" or the fact that officials being influenced towards not calling fouls leads to a physical game like existed in the late 90's, AKA the most boring brand of basketball on the planet. But whatevs. The players are clearly worried about the product. That's why they're so easy to coach.
Right, because the change wasn't discussed for weeks and the players weren't given a heads up on it. That's how that went down. It was a sneak attack! Like Pearl Harbor, only with Kevin Garnett being ejected for yelling and screaming!
I tend to side with the Union on most issues, including those regarding the upcoming CBA and the essential need for a better revenue sharing model. But to pick this as the issue they want to sue over in a season with as many issues to discuss as this one is absurd. Just tell your guys to chill out and go play.
Posted on: October 14, 2010 1:44 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2010 2:11 pm
For the love of Stern, can we relax about the new tech rules?
Posted by Matt Moore
In the beginning, there was complaining.
It's pretty natural, really. You're body-to-body, struggling, fighting, adrenaline rushing, and the whistle blows. You can't possibly think you did anything that could be considered a foul (especially not after how you were just elbowed at the other end of the floor!) and so you complain. It probably wasn't all that bad in the beginning, a hundred years ago.
It is now.
Then, there was the complaining about the complaining. And lost in this newest wave of outrage is the fact that there genuinely was a great deal of complaining about the complaining. Casual NBA fans? They loathe what they see when there's a whistle. Grown men, professionals, whooping and hollering, badgering officials, acting like they've just been stubbed on the toe by a whistle. Most of the time for a foul that was pretty easy to call. It reflects poorly on the game and every time it happens, a friend will point and say "that's why I don't follow the NBA." As if that were to somehow overtake the athleticism, the tactics, the chemistry, the powerful emotion of the game. But it does. It reflects poorly on the game.
So the NBA decided to do something about it, finally.
And now, finally, we've reached the zenith of this ridiculous story. There's now complaining about the rules designed to help with all the complaints about the complaining.
Welcome to the Catch-22, David Stern. Have fun trying to make people happy who cannot be made so.
Last night in a meaningless exhibition game, Jermaine O'Neal was whistled for a bad technical foul. At least, that's what it seemed like to the camera's eye, which is what everyone uses (we'll get into how that's a flawed start in a minute). It certainly didn't seem like O'Neal was worthy of a technical foul. It was a bad call, the same kind of bad call that's been made since the invention of the modern game and will be made for as long as officials are human. As Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported last night , it's probably an issue with both sides trying to find where the line exists.
Kevin Garnett? That was not a bad call. I understand that the paying fans at Madison Square Garden didn't come to see Garnett ejected. I get that we want players like KG to be able to play with emotion, with their passionate hearts on their sleeves. You're absolutely right that emotion is a pivotal part of the game's heart.
What Garnett was doing? What he usually does? It's not. It's intimidation at worst, and overreaction in the least, and he needed to be tossed under the new rules. Arguing the call by trying to show the foul, that's debatable. If he was calm, cool, and collected, then the first technical would have been completely wrong. Let me ask you this:
When was the last time you saw or heard of Kevin Garnett being calm, cool, and collected on a basketball court?
We have no idea what he said to the officials, and that's the biggest problems here. He could have said "Good sir! I heartily object, and though I respect your opinion, I was wondering if we might discuss the issue for a brief moment!" We don't know. We're reacting based on microphone muted interpretations of what we see on screen, without a clue of what was actually said by these players. I'd imagine if the officials were able to come out and say what the players said to them, we might feel differently. We'd also probably feel differently about the players, and that's not something the NBA wants at all. For all the talk today about how the league is victimizing the poor players, they could just mike up everything, let the profanity be released in a transcript, and then see how those endorsement dollars come rolling in.
But, no. We side with the athlete because it's his work we appreciate. His work, being the key phrase there. These are professionals. They always want to talk about that. How they are professionals and deserve to be paid as such. That they'll switch teams because they're professionals or hold out because they are professionals or don't care about the fans because they're professionals. But they can't control themselves on the floor? We're talking most often about guys who are 25 years of age or older. Grown men, who can't control their own reactions to something they know won't change no matter what they say or do? Do you think Kendrick Perkins screaming "What?!" or Tim Duncan's eyes bulging or Kobe Bryant making faces will actually convince a referee to say "Oh, you know what? When you put it that way, you're right. You didn't foul him. I'm sorry. Let me change this call."? No. The calls won't change. It's just complaining for complaining's sake, or it's an attempt to influence the outcome by pressuring officials. And that's a serious problem.
You don't want to go down that road, and it's one that gets tread upon a lot in an NBA season. It's not an epidemic, but it's enough to want to force the players to pump the breaks. It's the same as Phil Jackson flexing his muscle in press conferences. Last night, after the first technical, Kevin Garnett had to be restrained by another teammate from coming at the official. He wasn't going to hurt him. He wasn't going to do anything but scream and yell. That's pretty obvious. But let me ask you something. If a man of KG's height, width, and intensity is charging at you screaming like a lunatic, are you going to get a little rattled? Because I would wet myself and call games however it is the big scary man wants me to. And that's not how you want NBA games called.
The final piece of this ridiculous counter-reaction to a call for responsible, mature behavior is the "robot" argument. "I want my players to play with emotion, not be robots!" As if this behavior has anything to do with the emotion of the game. The new rules don't prohibit a fist pump after a big shot down the stretch. From a defeated collapse or hitting the floor after a player knocks down a tough shot over you. It doesn't prevent the hip bumps, chest bumps, high-fives, fist-pounds, jersey-popping, or any of the other things that produce imagery we've come to love about this game. There isn't an ounce of in-game emotion that's being sapped by this rule set.
It's just a measure to force grown men to act as such. If you're capable of shrugging through that mid-March game with the zeal and intensity of a manic-depressive tree slug, you're capable of keeping perspective enough to know that the call was made on you, and whether you like it or not, it is. And it will happen again within the hour, no doubt. If you're mature enough to be paid millions of dollars for your role on a team vying for a championship, you should be mature enough to not badger and scream when something doesn't go your way.
Complaining in the NBA isn't an epidemic. It was simply something that reflected poorly on the game and needed to be corrected. The league took an initiative as such. People say that the market research the NBA is claiming is somehow fabricated, because no one's actually complaining about the complaining. Right. Just like no one wants to hear about LeBron James, as traffic on Heat posts grow to phenomenal numbers.
The NBA does things badly sometimes, like any sports league. And officials will often get calls wrong, like the call on Jermaine O'Neal last night. But in this instance, asking the players to temper their reactions isn't just reasonable, it's the right thing to do, and the game will be better for it, for casual and hardcore fans alike.
You can consider this the complaining about the complaining in response to the rule brought about because of complaining in order to limit complaining.
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 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.
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.