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NBA Flops Resulting in Fines? Sounds Great in Theory, but Probably Not in Practice

The NBA has announced a system of fines for the upcoming season for those players deemed to have committed a “flop.” Much huzzahs and hurrahs will no doubt ensue. We all witnessed some key flops last year in the playoffs, so this was going to be a point of interest.

The system will involve post-game video review and involve a warning for the first offense, and escalating fines starting with $5,000 for the second offense, up to $30,000 for the fifth offense. Thus, a player may not get called during the game, the official may call it differently, and then the league will fine a player after the game.

I see plenty of issues with this. Let’s start with the definition.

“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.

Any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul? Let’s say you are in good position for a charge but embellish the contact to insure the call. It’s a charge. It was the correct call. Flop or not? By this, yes, if it is determined after replay the reaction was not consistent with the force of the contact.

Same thing, but on offense, as there is no distinction making it only applicable on charge/block calls. Let’s say the shooter gets hit across the arm and then falls down, drawing the foul. There was a defensive foul, and the shooter embellished the contact. Flop or not? By this, yes, and subject to fine.

There needs to be at least an exception where it only applies when the underlying foul call was not appropriate. It should be limited to plays where a player induced a bad call, and it was egregious. Maybe that’s how it will be enforced, but that is not clear. The line between gamesmanship and making sure you get the call coming to you, and flopping to fool a referee, can be a fine one. I would prefer they put it on the game referees to review and assess whether a flop has occurred, and enforce it during the game in question.

[photo via US Presswire]

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