NBA Goes After Floppers

By Dennis Berry

Last week the NBA announced that it was going after flopping. It is something that has been a long time coming as it had started to affect the game. If you are unsure of what flopping looks like in basketball, here are some examples.

In the official NBA press release on October 3, the NBA defined “flopping” as:

"Flopping" will be defined as any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player. The primary factor in determining whether a player committed a flop is whether his physical reaction to contact with another player is inconsistent with what would reasonably be expected given the force or direction of the contact.

Plays where the NBA feels there was a flop will be reviewed after the game by league officials. So while players may draw an advantage during the game, they may hear from the NBA after the fact. The NBA has instituted fines for players they deemed have flopped.

The first time a player is ruled to have flopped they will receive a warning. That will be followed by a $5,000 fine the second time. Fines will rise to $10,000 for a third, $15,000 for a fourth and $30,000 for the fifth. After six offenses, that player could be suspended.

Many around the NBA have welcomed it as a step in the right direction. Then there are those like Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki who are not too happy about it. He let everyone know exactly how he felt when asked his thoughts on the new rule.

“I think it’s a bunch of crap to be honest with you. Are they going to come back after a game and fine you for flopping? That’s tough to do to me.”

In a way I can see Nowitzki’s view. He is upset that the NBA can come in and review a play that happened during a game and fine players. How is that going to keep players from flopping during a game?

The answer is that it will not stop flopping.

This rule is not enough to keep players from trying to gain an advantage during the game. If they feel they have a chance to draw a foul on someone, they are going to do it. So what if they have to pay a small fine?

$5,000 fine? Easy

$10,000 fine? How will NBA players pay that? To quote Randy Moss, “straight cash homey."

These fines are nothing. Now once they get up to the point where a suspension could occur, then you might see them stop. These small fines are nothing to NBA players. If the NBA wants to fine players, then it needs to be something more than $60,000 after 5 offenses.

Hitting players in their wallets will get their attention. Of course, it has to be a big enough dent to get their attention.

If the NBA really wants to address flopping then they need to do it during thegame. If players know that there are penalties that can be enforced during games, they might think twice before flopping. For instance, if a player who flops is assessed a technical foul during a game, then that might have a greater effect on stopping flops.

The technology is in place to help referees catch it during games. Instant replay could be used on plays where players flop. Whether it be by stopping the game to look at it or have an official in place to review, they need to penalize a player during the game.

The NBA allows refs to review a three point shot later in the quarter if a player’s foot may have been on the line. If it was, then they take points away. Why can’t they do the same with a flop?

Unless they do not want to make the referees look bad for missing it to begin with. If it helps the referees get a call right, then there should be no issue. After all, that is what instant replay is for.

Flopping is too big of an issue to try and not be proactive about it. All the NBA did with this rule was nothing more than a PR move. They know they have to do something to address flopping, so they did this. It’s not really going stop it from happening, but when it does the NBA can say they are doing something about it.

What do you think?

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