- Ric Bucher, NBA Reporter, ESPN The Magazine Senior Writer
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."
The NBA's new directive to call more technical fouls could have some major unintended consequences -- including a player potential hitting a ref. Ric Bucher explains after talking with psychologists and guys around the league.