NBA hopes new suspensions will take fight out of players

September 17, 1990|By Jan Hubbard | Jan Hubbard,Newsday

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Unless there is a fundamental change in their approach to the game, guys such as Charles Barkley, Rick Mahorn and Bill Laimbeer could be getting less playing time next season.

NBA vice president Rod Thorn announced yesterday that the league will continue cracking down on violence in the game, and it will cost players playing time rather than money.

The NBA competition committee, which is made up of one member from each of the 27 teams, recommended that referees be allowed to eject players who commit excessively hard fouls. Also, the player fouled would receive two free throws and his team would retain possession of the ball. The recommendation still must be approved by the board of governors, who will meet in New York in late October, but that is usually only a formality.

Although the league has had a flagrant foul rule, it did not cover situations where a player simply knocked a player to the floor on a drive to the basket. Thorn said refs would have new guidelines on such fouls, which before were treated as two-shot fouls. That will no longer be the case. If a player makes no attempt to play the ball and knocks the offensive player to the ground, he will be ejected. If he makes a play on the ball but still uses excessive force, he will not be ejected, but the offensive team will get two free throws and retain possession.

Thorn pointed specifically to a Barkley foul on the Cleveland Cavaliers' Craig Ehlo during the playoffs. Thorn said Barkley made no attempt to play defense on the ball. "The hard foul in the halfcourt seemed to have become an accepted part of our game," Thorn said.

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