Down with Flopping

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In the infinite quest to better the game, the NBA is cracking down on the art of flopping this season. The league management has announced new guidelines and fines for players deemed to be flopping during the game. The new law will be incremental in nature, and would further punish repeat offenders. The fines as listed on NBA.com go something like this: 

  • Violation 1: Warning,
  • Violation 2: $5,000 fine, Violation 3: $10,000 fine,
  • Violation 4: $15,000 fine, Violation 5: $30,000 fine.

Furthermore any players who are deemed to be serial floppers (six times or more) will receive an increased fine or suspension. Hopefully these new rules will rid the game of players looking for cheap calls.

Ultimately the goal of the new legislation would be improving the flow of the game and putting out a better product for fans to enjoy, letting the skill and athleticism of the players shine, and doing away with the unnecessary grabbing, clutching and flopping. The outcome of the game should rely on factors other than who is willing to drop like a stone at any given moment.

That said, not all are in favour of these new rules and guidelines. The NBA players association has filed a grievance against the league regarding this issue. As stated by the NBPA head Billy Hunter “We believe that any monetary penalty for an act of this type is inappropriate and without precedent in our sport or any other sport. We will bring appropriate legal action to challenge what is clearly a vague and arbitrary overreaction and overreach by the Commissioner’s office.”

The players union probably will want to negotiate a different set of fines and reduce the monetary burden on the player’s wallet. A case can be made that the sudden rule of outlawing flopping could hurt lower rank teams, since teams with stars may get the benefit of the doubt from the league.

Also, how and when will the NBA brass make the flopping call? The line between actual contact and flopping is often muddled during a heated game. The mandate from the league to clean up the game, then, isn’t so cut and dry, and if not properly implemented, will definitely cause backlash from fans and players alike.

Furthermore, the way a call goes may affect a player’s behaviour on the court and the result of future games. This new twist in play could make for an interesting subplot this season.

The league has been trying to reduce the judgment calls and eliminate the grey area in the game. A decade a so back the NBA added a third referee to help with close calls and reduce missed fouls. Even more recently the league added a video referee through the introduction of instant replay for disputed fouls and close plays.

Overall, these changes have made the league more transparent, while helping polish up the product on court.

That said, only time will tell if the flopping rule/fines will have a positive impact on the game. Here’s hoping it does, since without ramifications for flopping, the NBA could become the same as soccer, with its medical staff and stretches waiting for next best actor, not sportsman.

 

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