Stu Jackson Q&A
Posted Nov 7 2006 7:49PM
NBA Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Stu Jackson sat down with NBA.com to discuss the new "Respect for the Game" rule that went into effect this season.
There has been some public interest in the rule change and let’s just go through what brought it about in the first place and where it stands so far with how the league thinks of its success?
"The goal here is to significantly reduce the amount of player complaining that takes place in our games. The reason we’re doing is because excessive complaining by the players interferes with game play, it’s distracting to the fans, and it conveys a negative impression of our players as well. So, the goal here is, as I mentioned, to reduce that and help our overall game."
When was it decided upon to put this into effect?
Well, there’s a bit of a history there. Several years ago we asked the officials -- that when they were addressed by players and coaches in a respectful manner and at the proper time of the game -- we instructed the officials that they owed the players and coaches a response. Unfortunately, out of that, players began to voice themselves in other ways and sometimes disrespectfully with referees, and that was something that we didn’t want. So, now we’re in a position where we have to pull it back. So, that’s why we’ve started the season trying to reduce the amount of complaining in games.
Can you explain how it’s really not a “zero-tolerance” policy and how the refs are told to judge it?
It’s not a zero-tolerance policy because we allow for “heat of the moment” reactions by players as long as it’s not excessive. In other words, as long as they’re not approaching an official in a disrespectful manner, they’re not flailing their arms, they’re not yelling and cursing at them or making aggressive hand gestures at officials. As long as their reactions don’t include those types of actions, they’re going to go without a penalty. Players have always, as I’ve mentioned, been able to approach a referee about a call or a non-call as long as it’s done in a respectful manner. So, we allow for those “heat of the moment” reactions, but we still allow players to talk to referees. So, this notion of it being “zero tolerance” is a misnomer.
Has there been any concern on the league’s part about some of the higher-profile players in the last couple weeks being ejected from the game?
No, not at all. We have a set of rules and those rules apply to every player that plays in our game and they’re subject to abiding by the rules. When they cross the line they’re going to pay a penalty.
What’s your opinion of the new NBA season thus far and how things are going for the league?
I feel the season is going very well so far. Some teams early on have played well that you didn’t expect to play well, and then there have been other teams that have historically won that have gotten off to bad starts. That always adds a little intrigue to the early season. But, all-in-all, our games have been exciting, our teams have scored well and it’s been a good start.
Stu Jackson, the NBA's Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations, has been in professional basketball for more than a decade as an assistant coach, head coach, general manager and league official. Jackson is the NBA executive in charge of all on-court operations of the sport, including scheduling, officiating, game conduct and discipline. He is also the Chair of the Competition Committee, which recommends rules changes to the Board of Governors.