The Insider: Technical danger

The NBA's latest tech directive is most foul

Updated: December 3, 2010, 1:05 PM ET
By Ric Bucher | ESPN The Magazine
US Presswire/AP Images/Getty ImagesForcing players to suppress their emotions could be a bad idea.

David Stern doesn't want players to question his referees in any way, shape or gesture. So the NBA commissioner has given the go-ahead to dole out technical fouls as if they were coupons, albeit ones that cost a player $2,000 or more. And what's wrong with that? Big men towering over pinch-faced refs had become the normal post-whistle tableau, and if anyone is sensitive to appearances, it's Commissioner Dress Code. Heck, even players felt ref-badgering had gone overboard.

Well, here's what is wrong: Stern went the kill-a-mosquito-with-a-cannon route. Now, a ref can punish a player for any move he deems too demonstrative, no matter where it's directed. "We're asking refs to be psychologists and determine intent," says the Rockets' Shane Battier. "Their job is already hard enough."

Ric Bucher

NBA Reporter, ESPN The Magazine Senior Writer