If Flopping Is Banned In The NBA, Why Aren’t Refs Calling It?


05242017

The NBA Conference Finals were happening this week and so far both series have featured prominent flops. Draymond Green flopped after minor contact with Jonathan Simmons in the Spurs-Warriors game, and Jonas Jerebko called out Kevin Love for flopping during Game 3 of the Cavs-Celtics series. Technically, both of these incidents are rule violations worthy of being penalized by the league — so why aren’t they getting called?

The current rules define a flop (“an intentional fall by a player after little or no physical contact”) as a “non-unsportsmanlike conduct technical foul”, and, in 2012, the NBA added several additional penalties for flopping:

“Players will get a warning the first time, then be fined $5,000 for a second violation. The fines increase to $10,000 for a third offense, $15,000 for a fourth and $30,000 the fifth time. Six or more could lead to a suspension.”

So, with all these regulations in place, why aren’t referees calling the flops? As Sports Illustrated pointed out, only eight warnings were issued last season and no player was written up more than once. If the NBA actually wants to stop players from flopping, they don’t seem to be going about it in a very proactive fashion.
The NBA’s Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Kiki VanDeWeghe told SI that “The program is working”, but there are still notable flops popping up on social media all the time.  If the fans can see these things happening, I find it hard to believe the refs are missing all of them.
One reason for the imbalance could be  it’s unpopularity with the players’ union. The National Basketball Players’ Association (NBAPA) said they “planned to file a grievance” and an “unfair labor practice charge” immediately right after the regulations were first put in place in 2012. The NBAPA executive director, Billy Hunter, told the press:

“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..”

So, one possibility is that the number of flopping calls are limited to avoid disputes between the players and the league. Of course, if that’s the case, we might never really know… But, one thing’s certain, if the league wants to stop flopping, then they need to proactively police it.
[Photo via YouTube.com]