How you feel about Rip Hamilton’s ejection less than five minutes into the Lakers game against the Pistons is like a Rorschach test for how you feel about the NBA’s new “respect for the game” enforcement and use of technical fouls.
At the 7:01 mark of the first quarter, Hamilton was whistled for his second foul on a Kobe Bryant turnaround jumper. Hamilton said some things to referee Derrick Stafford, but was not demonstrative about it. Stafford gave him a technical.
After that Hamilton continued to talk to Stafford and again was not demonstrative but this time used some foul language. Quick second technical and he was gone.
As you can expect, Pistons fans were up in arms, both in the arena (as tweeted by Chris Lott) and on twitter.
Favorite crowd comment to heckle the refs after the ejection: “You are incredibly insecure.”
What was more interesting was the reaction from the traveling army of Lakers writers (compared to most teams media entourage they are an invading army). Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles tweeted the same reaction I did at home:
Stunned that Rip Hamilton just got ejected for that. He wasn’t even looking at the ref or disrespecting his personal space. Sick of the rule
It was not unfair: Stafford let Rip yell right at him once w/o tech. Rip should’ve stopped there … or not gone profane at him after 1st T.
And that’s what it comes to, because the lines are never seemingly in the same place. There is no consistency of enforcement game to game (or often within games). Hamilton was not demonstrative, was not inciting the crowd or screaming that loudly (some courtside media did not hear it). On the other hand, should referees have to deal with that kind of language and treatment at all under the new rules?
Where is the line? Where you put it depends on your personal feelings and tolerances. Just like the referees. Which is to say it is all over the place.