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Technical Foul Guideline Changes Endanger Rasheed Wallace’s Record


Who knows how many technical fouls Rasheed Wallace would have to his name had this happened while he was still playing? Maybe Sheed knew this was coming and decided he’d better off saving his money than returning for a 16th season. For those of you who didn’t hear the news, the NBA has revamped the definitions of behavior that will result in technical fouls next season.  These rules were implemented to limit the following:

• Players making aggressive gestures, such as air punches, anywhere on the court.

• Demonstrative disagreement, such as when a player incredulously raises his hands, or smacks his own arm to demonstrate how he was fouled.

• Running directly at an official to complain about a call.

• Excessive inquiries about a call, even in a civilized tone.

Isn’t this a bit harsh?

Make no mistake, the NBA had to do something because players incessantly whining is out of control and only adds to the perception that it’s a superstar league.  I get annoyed just as much as the next guy watching players like Kobe Bryant bark every time a call goes against them.

It’s sickening.

However these new rules seem a bit extreme as it looks as though the NBA wants to shut these players up entirely.

The demonstrative disagreement and directly running at an official is fine by me.  Often we see players completely berate the officials excessively.  If you were a referee wouldn’t you be frightened to see a man of Shaquille O’Neal’s size run directly at you?

It’s the aggressive gestures and inquiries which make me fear that Sheed’s all time record of 306 and single season record of 40 are in jeopardy.

Anyone that’s played sports competitively understands how emotions can get the best of you during play.  With the adrenaline rush that takes over along with what’s at stake – winning – players will get frustrated when things aren’t going the way they had hoped.

It’s one thing if the gesture is directed at anyone in particular whether it’s a player on the opposing team or a referee.  Then give them a technical.  But if they are just frustrated and expressing their emotions in an aggressive yet appropriate way, they should not be given a technical for something like that.

The same goes for the inquiries.  When players are rude and belligerent while talking about a foul call, a technical foul is suitable.  If a player can keep his composure and simply wants further explanation about a call, why should that lead to a technical foul?

What will come of these new rules?  We won’t know until the season is underway.  It’ll be interesting to see if referees discriminate when using these guidelines to give technical fouls across the league, from LeBron James to Brian Scalabrine.

Do we see Tim Duncan get a technical when his eyes pop out of his head in disgust or when Bryant throws his arms up after a foul call?  Or are we more likely to see players whose impact on the game is much less such as Francisco Elson be subject to these guidelines?

Either way, the real travesty would be seeing someone eclipse Sheed’s records as a result of these new regulations.  The face of the “Technical Foul”, Sheed amused us all with his antics throughout his career.

Sheed berated officials, threw jerseys, had tantrums, etc.  It wouldn’t be the same if the man who passed Sheed was known for nothing more than aggressive gestures and excessive inquiries.

Steroids in baseball ruined Home Run records, the most hallowed statistic in sports.  Hopefully these new guidelines don’t do the same to Sheed.

COED Writer
Devout Sports Fan who suffers from what's often cited as "NY Sports Fan" Syndrome. Through thick and thin I stand by my Knicks, Jets, Mets, and Islanders. Become a fan of "Primetime Thoughts" on facebook and be the first to know when new columns are posted. Also follow "Primetime Thoughts" on my Twitter page davidslondon.