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Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The NBA Fires Back

Remember two days ago when my cynicism took hold of me and I questioned the NBA Refs? Well, the NBA has decided to punish whiners on the court this year, and I take that decision as a direct shot at me. Well, if Rasheed can think it's all about him, I'm allowed to think it's all about me, right? Luckily, I can't be fined by them for my constitutionally protected speech. Here's the story, from the giant sports shill

I don't know how I feel about this. On the one hand, whining is a huge problem in the NBA. Every time a foul -- any foul -- is called, the offending player and usually several others on his team are rolling their eyes, throwing their hands up in disgust, shaking their heads, and in general acting like my 1st-graders in computer class when I tell them not to click on anything yet. This puts off most (non-whiny) fans and is generally bad for business. I can totally see why they want to police it better.

However, in the light of the Finals Debacle of 2006, the last thing the NBA needs is more ref-protection. Coaches and players already get fines for talking about the refs after the game; what this new rule does is effectively shut out every public means of expressing dissatisfaction that players and coaches have, from the time a foul is called until the end of time. This means that the NBA office thinks it should be the sole judge of referees, and that questioning them on this is not acceptable. Does that sound like the best course of action in a post-Salvatore world?

To put it bluntly, we need more public criticism of refs from people who know what's up, i.e., players and coaches. Normally, I would be against this, but the NBA has become a special case and cannot be trusted to fix referee problems. It's the classic case of "Who's policing the police?" Is squashing dissent ever a good idea in America? Isn't this league the one that's supposed to be "fan-tastic"? Yes, we don't like whiners -- but we also don't like refs deciding games.

This isn't over, NBA.

The rule has one positive, though: we'll be treated to the delicate dance of Rasheed Wallace trying to find a way to express displeasure without doing anything the refs can see.
I really can't wait.


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