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Question of the day: Has the NBA’s aggressive policy in calling technical fouls made the game better? [Updated]

November 1, 2010 |  8:21 am

Nba-logo_200 Writers from around Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic. Please check back throughout the day for more responses, and feel free to leave a comment of your own.

Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

The only good thing about the NBA's respect-for-the-game crackdown on decorum has been the ensuing discussion.

First there was ESPN's Jeff Van Gundy suggesting that technical free throws be eliminated and a point simply be added to the opposition's score.

Then there was Kevin McHale, the TNT analyst and former player, coach and executive, who said the real respect-for-the-game sanctions should come against players who aren't giving full effort.

All we know is this: No one benefits from whistles that slow the game. If respect is the concern, then issue fines or simply add a point to a player's total toward a suspension.

Passion has a place in the game. Pouting should be handled outside of the game.

And the whistles have to cease. They pierce the viewing experience.

Zach McCann, Orlando Sentinel

Though it's unfortunate to see a star player receive an early technical foul for doing little more than pleading his case to a referee, the NBA's new technical-foul policy is necessary for the good of the game.

Not ideal, not pretty -- necessary.

To many, the NBA is known for its shady refereeing as much as its supreme athletes and fast-paced game. Although the refereeing can always be better, players openly showing up refs after calls doesn't help the perception that the refereeing is poor.

Without some sort of mandate, the player complaints would continue to allow columns, Twitter messages and crowd boos to be directed at the men in stripes.

It's not easy for NBA players, who wear very little clothing while playing an adrenaline-fueled game in front of fans whose toes practically touch the court. Athletes in other sports don't deal with the same accessibility. Because of that accessibility, basketball players need to be on their best behavior, and the new mandate has helped that behavior.

[Updated at 9:28 a.m.:

Baxter Holmes, Los Angeles Times

The NBA has gone old school, er, grade school. No talking. No talking back. No talking unless called on. And don't bother raising your hand, or making any sudden movements. Just play quiet until the buzzer sounds, then go home and you can act however you want.

Sounds bad, right? Like something out of George Orwell's "1984"? Wrong. The NBA's new heavy-handed technical-foul rule cracks down on the NBA's worst aspect: whining. Initially, it will be bumpy while stars such as Dirk Nowitzki and Kobe Bryant relearn when they can cry foul. But long-term, this is an improvement.

And as to the argument that this strips the game of emotion, that the NBA is no longer where amazing happens, well, that's hooey. Amazing wasn't whining. Amazing is a Bryant game-winner, a Rajon Rondo behind-the-back pass, a Dwight Howard rejection, a Josh Smith slam.

Whining always helped players get an edge, but now everyone has to shut up and play. Finally.]

[Updated at 11:42 p.m.

K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune:

The NBA is going to be more serious in calling technical fouls for demonstrative behavior this season.

And this time the league is serious!

Let's play out a hypothetical: Kobe Bryant, who already received one technical, drives late in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, thinks he gets fouled and reacts angrily to the no-call. Yell if you think he gets ejected for his second technical. Hmm, it's awfully quiet in here.

Please. Like most attempts to strong-arm the game, this initiative will either fade or be used selectively. You can't take emotion out of the game.

And it was silly for the NBA to try.]