Flopping is a heinous act jeopardizing the authenticity of the NBA.
The Eastern Conference finals between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers has become a full-fledged flop-fest, disrupting both the genuineness of competition and rhythm of the game. The best players in the league are pretending to be fouled, or acting as if a foul was more severe than it actually was, in the hopes of receiving sympathetic whistles.
It has officially reached a breaking point, and it’s time for the league office to step up with more dramatic penalties for these abominable violations. Judging by the awful acting jobs of the postseason, it’s apparent that current fines and punishments are not carrying enough authority.
The NBA took its first step to alleviate the issue by setting flopping rules for the 2012-13 season. Here is how the league defines it:
"Flopping" is 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.
In the regular season, the NBA gave a warning for first offenses and fined players $5,000 for a second offense. The fine grew with each subsequent violation.
With 24 violations in the regular season—the NBA set stricter anti-flopping penalties for the playoffs:
|Violation 1||$5,000 fine|
|Violation 2 ||$10,000 fine|
|Violation 3 ||$15,000 fine|
|Violation 4 ||$30,000 fine|
If a fifth offense occurred, the league stated that further discipline could also include a suspension. However, so far, the NBA has taken little action against the vast majority of obvious flops.
The league office has fined only four players this postseason for flopping violations, including Tony Allen, Derek Fisher, Jeff Pendergraph and J.R. Smith.
Where's the heavy hand?
The conference finals have been littered with flops that should have been flagged. The league is showing zero consistency in its determination of what should or should not garner a fine, thereby nullifying any progress on the epidemic.
There have been plenty of examples, but perhaps none more exaggerated than these:
If two of the best players in the league serve as the most obvious examples of this counterfeit act, and neither has been fined, there is no hope for change. The trend has been set, and now both teams are responding with blatant attempts to trick officials.
James’ reaction is equally contemptible, as he came out the other day endorsing something that is clearly a rules violation.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com quoted James before Game 4: "Some guys have been doing it for years, just trying to get an advantage. Any way you can get an advantage over the opponent to help your team win, so be it."
That mocking of the league's lack of control is ludicrous. LeBron doesn't fully admit to it, but he basically spells out that flopping is acceptable and is still not fined.
Then, he has the audacity to complain about the foul calls in Game 4. Hilarious.
If he is admittedly trying to trick referees, then what credibility does he hold when they can't do their job correctly?
It's not really James' fault, though. This has been a problem in basketball for generations and every team is guilty of it. Now more than ever, though, it has been spotlighted and is compromising the integrity of the game.
It’s time for the league to come down hard on all violators—even if the most obvious of the perpetrators happens to be the best player on the planet.