Players union not happy with the tech policy

October, 15, 2010
10/15/10
1:11
PM ET
Harper By Zach Harper
ESPN.com
Archive
I don’t know if you’ve heard the buzz lately over this new policy, but players are no longer allowed to needlessly swear at argue with refs over foul calls they don’t really like.

The NBA players union has fired back with this statement:
The new unilateral rule changes are an unnecessary and unwarranted overreaction on the league’s behalf. We have not seen any increase in the level of “complaining” to the officials and we believe that players as a whole have demonstrated appropriate behavior toward the officials. Worse yet, to the extent the harsher treatment from the referees leads to a stifling of the players’ passion and exuberance for their work, we fear these changes may actually harm our product. The changes were made without proper consultation with the Players Association, and we intend to file an appropriate legal challenge.

I just can’t get behind this.

The idea that this policy takes away from the passion of the game confounds me. Is arguing mostly correct calls the only way for players to exude passion? I’m sure we can find thousands of examples on YouTube of NBA players celebrating in victory/accomplishment and agonizing in defeat/failure on things ranging from missed/made shots in any point of a game to failing/succeeding in proper defensive rotations.

Why does screaming words you can’t say on network TV at an official because you disagree with whether or not your hands were straight up or your feet were set constitute passion for your job? And why is it something that just can’t be taken away?

However, taking issue with changes being made without proper consultation does make a lot of sense to me. I would think the majority of issues like this (and remember the dress code from years ago?) should run through the players union just as a common courtesy to demonstrate a willing and pleasant working relationship. It doesn’t mean the NBA has to get approval per se; it just means asking for input and hopefully coming to an amicable resolution before instituting a new rule or policy seems like the right thing to do.

There’s no doubt the NBA and the players union already have a lot to discuss in the next collective bargaining agreement negotiations this summer. You can definitely throw this into the mix. We’ll probably see which side uses it as a concession to get something else they want during this summer’s negotiations.

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