NBA to Crack Down on Complaining (Again)
Actually, it worked some -- most players eased up a bit to start the season, as refs handed out T's like candy. But eventually, the status quo returned, and everyone in sneakers began working the zebras hard again. Until now. The league will again crack down on complaining, reports ESPN's Henry Abbott. And this time there are specific actions on the no-no list.
Among those: air punches, foul re-enactment (the ol' Rasheed Wallace smacking his own arm bit), constant disagreement (even if civil, aka the Ray Allen lecture) and running directly at a referee. (No word on the reaction I find most grating: when a player picking up a second foul in the first quarter sprints to the bench while wearing a mask of disbelief. Stop the passive-aggressive protests!)
This is a smart tactic for the league, to tie specific actions to specific penalties. A vague crackdown on complaining is simply too hard to enforce without calling a tech on every single possession. Penalizing demonstrable and definable reactions will work better.
Now is it fair? That's a separate question, and one we'll find out this season. The NCAA's lack of tolerance for any negative emotion on the court of play is hard to watch; I can't imagine the NBA will go that far. But complaining players is among the things fans dislike most, so this is a smart and reasonable step by the league. Let the countdown begin until the first technical for "air punching."