NBA offers explanation on rising number of ejections that leaves fans stunned


In the early stages of the 2023/24 NBA season, the league finds itself addressing a surge in player ejections, prompting the NBA officials to elucidate the delicate line they are navigating. Just three weeks into the season, multiple players have faced expulsion from games, with reasons ranging from taunting technical fouls to post-adjudication to even flagrant fouls, a rarity in the league. Fans are expressing concerns that some ejections may be overly stringent, impacting the competitiveness and intensity of the games.

Evidently, the NBA has adopted a less lenient stance on player behavior, prompting discussions on the factors leading to players being swiftly sent to the locker room. Monty McCutchen, NBA’s Head of Referee Development and Training, explained in a conversation with Yahoo Sports that this shift is aimed at maintaining order, particularly in situations where on-court altercations could escalate between teams. Consequently, players have, at times, found themselves on the receiving end of premature technical fouls.

McCuthen acknowledged the challenge of finding the right balance when it comes to taunting, stating, “When you start talking about taunting, there’s a fine balance, and I think you’re fair to hold us accountable to what you believe that is.” He emphasized the historical correlation between unchecked taunting and increased physicality, asserting the need to strike a balance between enforcing technical fouls and allowing players to express themselves.

Recent high-profile ejections include Giannis Antetokounmpo and Draymond Green, both integral players in their respective teams. Antetokounmpo’s ejection stemmed from a second technical foul during a game against the Detroit Pistons, following a fast-break dunk where he engaged in what was deemed taunting. Fans expressed discontent, with some calling for a review of ejection decisions.

Green, on the other hand, faced two ejections in three games, each laden with controversial circumstances. His ejections against the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Minnesota Timberwolves were met with scrutiny, with the latter involving a headlock on Rudy Gobert. These incidents exemplify the very scenarios NBA officials aim to prevent.

Despite the rising tensions and increased scrutiny, Green remains resilient. Reflecting on his ejection against the Cavaliers, he stated, “I am the same person that got suspended from the NBA Finals for flagrant fouls that were all called from after the game. Nothing surprises me.”

As the NBA grapples with the challenge of maintaining order without stifling the passion and intensity of the game, the competition committee continues to calibrate the fine line between what constitutes a fair technical foul and allowing players the freedom to express their emotions.

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