For many years, flopping has been a huge part of basketball. Hall of Famers and role players alike have been making a living off of drawing fouls by tricking the referees.
Fans have pushed NBA Commissioner, David Stern, over the edge in recent years on the subject. Since technology has become so advanced, fans are able to go back and look at plays and see where they are deceiving the refs and forcing bad calls.
In recent years, the stars of the NBA in particular have gotten a bit out of control with flopping, to put it lightly. LeBron, Kobe and KD, among others, are all at fault. Flopping has become part of the game and has been subject to scrutiny over the past couple years. Last year’s NBA playoffs, in particular, featured some extreme floppage and it is the unfortunate truth, but it’s about time something was done.
So this summer, the NBA released the new policy for flopping and the rules are as follows.
Violation 1: Warning
Violation 2: $5,000 fine
Violation 3: $10,000 fine
Violation 4: $15,000 fine
Violation 5: $30,000 fine
Part of me really likes this new set of rules. It gives a lot more power back to the referees, and it should scare players away from egregiously flopping. Flopping has been elevated to a degree beyond fair. I like Stern’s decision to incorporate a rule in which the players are penalized for trying to deceive the referees.
But, in some ways it is sad to see flopping being penalized. Flopping presents another aspect of the game, where talented floppers can utilize their skill set and take advantage of teams that are rough in the paint. Those who draw fouls from the LeBron James’ and Kevin Durants of the NBA can also get them into foul trouble, which can have a huge impact on the outcome of any game.
However, this system doesn’t ensure that flopping won’t happen. In other words, the calls will still stand, and when a player gets away with a flop call, the outcome of the game won’t change. While the player will take a hit of some money, the NBA can’t prevent the deception from happening altogether. Unfortunately, the refs can’t call a foul or penalty during games for flopping because when someone successfully flops, the ref has been deceived into thinking that a foul occurred when one in fact did not. So, not being able to prevent flops from changing the outcome of the game is the biggest problem with the fining method.
I think Jay-Z brought up a good point when he eloquently said, “what’s 50 grand to a motherf*cker like me, can you please remind me?” LeBron is making $16 million this year for putting on a Miami Heat jersey. That’s not counting the tens of millions of dollars for shoe deals, commercials and endorsement deals. Do you really think that a $30,000 fine is going to stop him from forcing the refs to give him a call? I don’t.
I think a more effective way to penalize would be to take a percentage of the player’s salary, increasing with the amount of violations. This way, players that are making minimum salary are affected the same as players who have max contracts. Also, a 5 percent cut from LeBron’s paycheck will build up much more quickly than a set dollar value.
The new fining policy is a good first step in the elimination of flopping from the NBA, and while I think it is impossible to do away with entirely, this new system should give some power back to the refs and put the game back on an even playing field—or hardwood, so to speak.