Fight the power

May 2, 2007 at 1:21 pm | Posted in basketball, clif | Leave a comment

I just finished watching game 5 of the Warriors-Mavericks series.  Perhaps you saw it.  If you did, you probably noticed Stephen Jackson of Golden State getting ejected with nine seconds left for committing the cardinal sin of basketball:  he clapped.  Yup, he clapped his hands together while his team was behind.  I did not know this, but apparently you’re not allowed to do that.  Ejection.  What makes his offense more distasteful is that — and I’m just going off post-game reports here — someone on his team had previously been ejected from a game in this series for the very same thing.  For shame, Stephen, you should have known better.

 In case you’re an idiot, I’m being sarcastic.  The truth is, I think the NBA has gotten itself into one hell of a pickle.  At the beginning of the year, the league announced (or, at least, mumbled something to the affect) that it was going to encourage refs to call more technical fouls.  This, along with other rules like the  possibly-racist dress code, is part of an attempt to clean up the league’s perceived ‘thug image.’  They wanted to cut down on racey behavior by unsavoury characters, such as Allen Iverson and Rasheed “the Deed” Wallace so that their viewing audience would get the idea that…NBA players are polite folk…that you’d want your daughter to…well, I’m not sure what they were going for. 

I’m sure of what they got, though.  They got a bunch of power-hungry asswipes who “T” up or eject anybody that does anything, real or perceived, that they don’t approve of.  They got refs who allow personal vendettas and agendas get in the way of the flow and legitimacy of the game.  They’ve replaced thugs with bullies.  I present exhibit A: Joey Crawford.  He’s been suspended for calling a technical on and trying to fight Tim Duncan.  But, his big mistake was taking on one of the league’s golden boys.  Do you think he’d be sitting at home during the playoffs if you substituted Duncan for Iverson?  I doubt it. 

 I wasn’t really all that bothered by this trend, though, until I saw the post-game interview with Warriors’ coach, Don Nelson.  He made a point of saying that Jackson “would be fined a large amount by the team” for his behavior on the court.  That’s crap.  The league has fined coaches and players so often for criticizing the refs that they are afraid to do so anymore, even when the refs need to be called out.  And it’s only going to get worse as long as the NBA continues to afford ultimate power to the refs without any accountability.  The only one that stood up for Jackson tonight was Charles Barkley on TNT’s post-game report.  He’s cool.  I’d ask him out if he weren’t already dating Dwyane Wade.

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