Flopping has become an epidemic in the National Basketball Association.
Players are exaggerating incidental contact from opposing players to goad the referee into calling a foul or getting them to call a flagrant foul when a common foul is appropriate.
This practice is so prevalent everyone is doing it, from the D-Leaguer trying to make the team to superstar LeBron James.
While it is known and acceptable to “sell” calls by exaggerating contact, it is frowned upon to imitate soccer and look like you just were hit by a train when there was only minimal contact.
The NBA’s press release that went into effect at the start of 2012-13, clarifies:
“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.”
The NBA has instituted a fining system to deter flopping, but it isn’t working.
According to the fining policy, the first infraction deserves a warning with the next incident warranting a $5,000 fine. On subsequent violations the fine escalates to $10,000, $15,000, $30,000 with an increased fine, suspension or both, for five or more incidents.
This fining structure is ineffective for two reasons.
The money given up for flopping is insignificant to most players. If James flops for a second time in a season, he has to pay five grand, but makes 46 times that much every game. It’s barely even a slap on the wrist.
Additionally, flopping doesn’t affect the game. There is no competitive disadvantage. Flopping fines are determined by people in the league office the day after an incident. So players can flop, win the game and pay the consequences later.
Flopping needs to be eradicated from basketball to preserve the integrity of the game, since it is a form of cheating.