On Thursday, September 23rd, at the referees’ annual meeting in Jersey City, N.J., the NBA announced the new, EXPANDED guidelines for technical fouls, which will now include “overt” player reactions to officials’ calls.
In addition to the already bogus reasons that referees call “techs”, they will now be calling technical fouls for the following:
- “Players making aggressive gestures, such as air punches, etc, 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.”
- “Using body language to question or demonstrate displeasure.”
- “Taking the long path to the official.” In other words, walking across the court to make their case.
Now, I’m the first person who would tell you that I could do without seeing all the constant whining, bitchin, and moaning to the officials, but I would be a hypocrite if I did so. In my time as an athlete, I have surely reacted to some terrible officiating. HOWEVER, these new set of rules infringe on the human element of the game. Humans (referees) make mistakes (MANY MISTAKES)… and emotional reactions to perceived wrongs are primary traits of human behavior. Of course there is a line that needs to be drawn when it comes to how much one should “demonstrate” after a call, but reading between the lines of these new rules lead me to believe that the NBA much rather prefers super-athletic emotionless drones over naturally emotional human beings. Trust me, the enforcement of these rules will eventually go WAY OVERBOARD!…or have they already started down that path?
On October 6th, in a preseason contest between the Phoenix Suns and the Toronto Raptors, Grant Hill and Reggie Evens were given second “technicals” and ejected from the game for…………….(wait for it)……..…….slapping each other on the butts.
After a previous, HARMLESS altercation between the two teams on a prior play, Reggie Evans fouled Grant Hill on an attempted drive to the basket, accidentally tripping him to the floor. Grant Hill got up (as Reggie Evans motioned for a travelling violation) and slapped Reggie on the butt. As Grant walked away, Reggie returned the butt slap, which in turn prompted Grant to come back one last time to get the final butt slap. At this point, referee Bill Kennedy was motioning for both players to leave the floor. They were both ejected. This referee is already in (if I may borrow a phrase I read earlier) “mid-season overreaction form”. I can’t tell if this was a result of the new tightening of the technical foul rules or if this official is just a major homophobe. Maybe he was Tim Hardaway in disguise. Who knows?