Ever watched a game and felt like the referees missed a call and yelled at the TV? Happens all time time, it’s part of being a fan. You get to vent your frustration. The players do it a lot in the game, but for them, the consequences are a free-throw for the opposing team and getting fined.
Seems fair, right? Yes, actually it does.
If you break the in-game rules, get into a scuffle with the opponent, or just do the infamous “Rasheed Wallace “Nooo!” runaround in protest”, you deserve a technical foul. The game doesn’t need to put up with that sort of misconduct and the rule is set to keep the game in control.
Last season, technical fouls weren’t handed out often (Perkins and Sheed will argue against this point). They were handed about every solar eclipse or so. If you were to get into the face of your opponent, you get a tech. If you yell at the top of your lungs for/against a foul, you get a tech. If for some reason, you call an official (insert insult here). you guessed it, you’ll get a foul.
Get where I’m going with this?
Well this season, the NBA decided to “revamp” that technical foul rule for the “better” of the NBA. It seems that David Stern was sick and tired of seeing his players complaining. So, the new rule goes like this: If you raise your arms in protest to a call from the referee, if you dare to look at the referee/opponent, or just play the game of basketball, you will be issued with a technical foul. Sounds absurd, don’t it? The fines have also been doubled to $2,000 for each technical foul. The fine is nothing but a mere deterrent, scaring players into not complaining.
David Stern hoped to reduce complaints from the players and improve the image of the NBA, trying to get across the message that these are men playing, not little kids. Well Mr. Stern, were you ever so wrong. The new rule has yet to reduce the complaints from the players, in fact, it has only frustrated the players more. They as well as the fans, are disgusted with the new rule. You can see it in the players’ faces. Showing emotion on the court is part of the game (part of any game for that matter).
When Stern was asked to talk about the new rule, he explained how he wanted to “clean” the NBA and it’s image. For point of emphasis, he asked the sideline reporter (and the fans) “how many calls have been changed when players complained?” and he simply left it at that for you to think about. The obvious answer is none, and he does have a point but it won’t stop the players from complaining to get their message across to the referees, so they can watch it on the ensuing possessions and try to make the right call.
Technical fouls can change the context of the game. Some of you might say “how can that happen? It’s just a free-throw.” But that one free-throw can be the start of a run and it can kill you opponent’s momentum. With technical fouls being called every third possession, don’t be surprised to see a team go on a run after draining the free-throw.
As we witnessed against the Suns, Lamar felt like he got fouled (which he obviously did, there was contact from Turkoglu) and so he yelled “AND 1!” to the “officials” and Lamar got what he asked for. A whistle was blown. Technical foul on Lamar Odom. He stood there; stunned. What was even more ridiculous is this absurd call on Kobe, as he drew the foul. So now, if you draw a foul and get knocked down to the floor, you get a technical? I must’ve missed that one.
In conclusion, this rule itself is fair. The officials need to have the power to control the game and punish players for misconduct. But the way players earned an tech is in question, and quite frankly, it doesn’t seem fair.
I’m not saying we should abolish the rule completely but the referees just need to tone down their criteria on assessing what is and isn’t worthy of a technical foul. The end result would be some happy players and fans.