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Picking Through the Trash
Rick Reilly
September 27, 1993
NBA refs will have to decide who's trashin' and who's tauntin', and then trash the taunter
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September 27, 1993

Picking Through The Trash

NBA refs will have to decide who's trashin' and who's tauntin', and then trash the taunter

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Taunt: Damn, who cuts your hair, Pete Rose?

Still the new rule brings up some troublesome questions. For instance, if Player A turns around and what-fors Player B with a right cross, doesn't it follow, according to Thorn's definition, that B must have taunted A with something that A "just couldn't back down from"? Thus, not only would A get a technical for the punch, but B would also get one for the taunt the minute the paramedics get a pulse.

The NBA also may introduce a penalty system based on "flagrant points." Under it, every time a player got a flagrant foul, he would earn a flagrant point. Upon reaching a specified number of points—probably five—the player would be automatically suspended for one game. Then he would be suspended for at least one game for every flagrant foul after that. Last season Charles Oakley of the Knicks had 11 flagrant fouls. Under this new system, Oakley would have been suspended for approximately two seasons past his retirement.

This, of course, is hardly fair. Guys like Oakley have labored too hard to have their work demeaned like this. These guys pride themselves on their flagrants. You can almost hear Oakley this season ragging on a ref: One point? Man, that had to be at least a three! Perhaps, as in competitive diving, the point system should include degrees of difficulty. Lemme check, Morty. Limbs still attached but neuromuscular functions have ceased—make it a 2.6.

Personally, we think NBA players ought to be allowed to police themselves, as they have for more than 40 years. And the Big Suits in the high-rise NBA offices who obviously aren't getting enough oxygen to the brain ought to go out and rent a life.

(Definite taunt.)

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