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LeBron James Gets Techincal: Is the New ?Respect for the Game" Rule Racist?
I was watching LeBron James and the Miami Heat blast the Orlando Magic last night. James got called for a foul which he didn’t believe was a good call. James got called for a technical foul for running away from the referee in protest.
Under the new “respect for the game” rule, players can neither be demonstrative when questioning fouls nor show excess exuberance if they make a good play.
I think this new rule stinks. I also feel it has racial undertones to it as well. From my vantage point, it makes no sense why an athlete cannot feed off the crowd and let everyone know how they feel.
NBA Commissioner David Stern is behind the rule. He thinks it will clean up the game and allow for fans to see a better product on the court.
I think that is utter garbage.
Some of the greatest memories in NBA history have been filled with an emotional display, which added to the flavor of the moment. Remember when Michael Jordan hit “The Shot” over Craig Ehlo? Had Jordan been elevated off the ground pumping his fist out of pure elation today, it is quite possible that he would have gotten a technical foul.
Remember Scottie Pippen dunking over Patrick Ewing in the early 1990's? He jammed over Ewing emphatically. Pippen pushed an already stumbling Ewing to the floor, straddled him and briefly looked down upon him as to say, “Take that!”
Today that would be considered showing up your opponent and Pippen would receive a technical foul.
Sorry, but some forms of behavior in society and sports are just what they are and shouldn’t be regulated. If I just won the Powerball for $200 million, chances are that I would be elated and filled with joy.
Chances are if a loved one died, I would feel a sense of deep loss and sorrow.
Helping someone to succeed and prosper typically makes one feel proud and happy.
How can Commissioner Stern think he can play God and regulate natural flowing emotions that are both distinct and real?
The likes of Dennis Rodman and the newly retired Rasheed Wallace wouldn’t stand a chance in today’s NBA. They were two of the most emotional players in NBA history. Both were also winners. During their careers, they were already singled out by refs who didn’t like them or the way they expressed themselves.
What is this really all about? Why does the NBA feel the need to regulate behavior that is natural and free-flowing?
Steve Kerr said, “They like to see passion. There is a fine line between passion and going over the top and causing a lot of problems. That is the key, the league has to figure out where to draw that line.”
First and foremost, the rule affects the vast majority of African-American players. I am aware the league is 80 percent African-American, but it doesn’t make sense to sanction behavior that African-American athletes engage in to prove a point.
From a cultural standpoint, being demonstrative and showcasing ones athletic talent has been an element that has existed in the African-American community for many decades. Letting the world know what you just did contributes to ones' individual legend while simultaneously entertaining on-lookers.
Anyone ever heard of Muhammad Ali?
Commissioner Stern has had enough. He apparently has grown weary of the greatest athletes in the world flying through the air with the greatest of ease, playing to the crowd and questioning the authority of the refs.
This type of sanctioning the NBA is engaging in is a reflection of the racist hostile society that once existed in the 1950’s and 1960’s. African-Americans in society and sport were restricted. They were fighting for civil rights in society and for equality of opportunity in the realm of American sport.
The greatest winner of all time was Bill Russell. He won 11 NBA Championships in 13 seasons as a Boston Celtic. While Russell was cheered as an exceptional African-American athlete in society, he was treated as second-class citizen irrespective of his athletic prowess. Russell was a man’s man and would not bow to Jim Crown in society or accept racism on the basketball court.
The African-American athlete and citizen fought to be heard. They fought for rights in society that would ultimately filter into American sport.
Muhammad Ali would be first African-American athlete to boldly proclaim he was the all-time greatest, irrespective of racism and negative reaction from the white mainstream press. Ali lived his life out loud, thus setting a standard for the African-American community that it is ok to be who you want to be.
As time progressed, athletes got more rights in opportunities in society by championing causes. Championing American sports ultimately followed. Today, in sports where African-Americans dominate on both the collegiate and professional ranks, they celebrate their individual feats and team victories with style and exuberance for there was once a time in society and sports where such displays of joy were not welcomed.
Let’s look at sports like tennis and hockey. Those are two sports where whites dominate. In tennis there have been the likes of Ilie Nastase, Jimmy Connors, John McEnore and today Andy Roddick who lose their cool and or entertain the crowd.
Over time white stars have embarrassed linespersons and referees to the hilt, yet their behavior was largely embraced. Each of the latter athletes, especially McEnroe, has a rap sheet as long as the Golden Gate Bridge, yet today he profits via commercials and endorsements for acting like spoiled child.
Serena Williams blows up at the US Open in 2009. Serena, like her sister, doesn’t have a history of despicable behavior on the court. She is not known for berating officials yet when she had her memorable outburst she was fined $82,500 and placed on two-year probation.
Interesting how the establishment makes an example out of Serena yet white athletes go unnoticed.
The NHL is simply another form of UFC except with they wear equipment. The fighting that transpires in the game is encouraged and celebrated. The players routinely fight and challenge authority yet their behavior is encouraged.
Why do tennis and NHL players who act like buffoons being restricted yet NBA players are fined for reacting to making a good play or questioning authority?
Say what you will, but race does play a factor in why African-American players are disciplined and controlled much more their white counterparts.
The NBA and Commissioner Stern need to get a grip. It is not justified to regulate something that comes natural which spawns from a community of beings with a storied past in the realm of athletics and sports in this country.
Does the new “respect for the game” rule make sense to you?
I think you know where I stand.
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