NBA player’s union screaming “technical”

The NBA players union is taking legal action against the NBA for their recent practice of calling technical fouls for even the most minor altercations between players and referees. The Associated Press released a statement from union boss Billy Hunter that said the union or union members were never consulted about the radical change. He called it “an unnecessary and unwarranted.

The claim comes one day after Boston Celtics star Kevin Garnett was sent to the showers early during a preseason game for simply performing his duty as team captain; talking with officials about a call, in this case one involving Jermaine O’Neal being assessed a techncial.

While this was happening on the east coast to the Celts, over on the west, the NBA Champion Lakers played the Sacramento Kings where more T’s rained down. After Lamar Odom was T’ed for raising his hand after a foul, Lakers head coach Phil Jackson approached an official to raise objection to it and was waved an additional T.

According to the league, the new rule is written to address overt physical demonstrations and it appears that refs are getting whistle-happy with it during preseason play possibly to make a point.

Former NBA referee, Tim Donaghy was asked his opinion of what brought about the change:

“The NBA wants and needs a more professional image as they have lost many fans to other sports. No other sporting event has the problems with the officials, players, coaches and owners.”

Donaghy, author of “Personal Foul: A First-Person Account of the Scandal That Rocked the NBA” should know.

“During the pre-season games, the referees play by the book, including the new rules because nothing is at stake. As the regular season starts, the refs will back off,” told me in a recent interview.

“Nobody pays that kind of money to see LeBron James on the bench.”

The talk supporting this change stems from fans growing tired of complaining and whining by some of the players. The practice has been noticed and mentioned by analysts and play-by-play announcers on a regular basis as well.

Regardless you have to wonder about the timing of a lot of this on the eve of a season that might end in a lock-out or strike.

Used with permission of the author.

Paula Duffy is a national sports columnist for Examiner.com and the Huffington Post and regularly comments on sports/legal matters for radio affiliates of ESPN and Fox Sports. She founded the sports information site, Incidental Contact, is the author of a line of audio books designed for sports novices and in her spare time practices law in Los Angeles.

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