Players are complaining. Pundits have ripped it. The players union has threatened a legal challenge. Fans – well, at least some fans — have laughed at it or mocked it.
But the NBA’s crackdown on complaining and the fast technicals are here to stay.
Why? Because the NBA owners like it, as David Stern said yesterday (reported by Ken Berger at CBS).
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 also basically dared the union to make a legal challenge on the issue.
Stern did admit that the referees are getting used to the new rule too and may have over-reacted n some cases. Like when Reggie Evans and Grant Hill got tossed for slapping each other’s behind.
The real test will come sometime in the next week or two, when a key player gets tossed from a real, regular season game for a seemingly minor infraction. Or a late technical changes a close, emotional game.
But for now bottom line is Stern said it is working, the complaining is down.
“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.”