It’s Time for the NBA to Cure the Flopping Epidemic

Photo courtesy of espn.com

Photo courtesy of espn.com

You can turn on just about any basketball game nowadays, college or professional, and see someone on the court think he is on Broadway and act his way into an offensive foul. It is like it has become an infectious disease that everyone that plays basketball has caught with no known way to cure it.

A flop is, as defined in a press release by the NBA last year:

“…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.”

The key word that I think is missing from this definition is deception. It seems like at least once a game a player tries to intentionally deceive an official to get a call, and why shouldn’t they? What is the punishment for flopping? Right now a first time offender gets fined 5,000 dollars, a second time costs a player 10,000 dollars, third offense is a 15,000 fine, and a fourth offense is a mere 30,000 dollar fine.

For most players these fines are laughable. A slap on the wrist is the best way to describe the fines. Getting a call because of a flop late in the fourth quarter of any game, especially a playoff game, is worth the fine every time. That right there is the problem; there is currently nothing in place to deter players from flopping.

Flopping has become a real problem in basketball, and I have a way for the NBA to fix this disease instantly. Don’t believe me? Look at what rookie P.J. Hairston did the other night which failed miserably.

Sure blame it on Hairston being a naive rookie in the league, and yes he was figuratively slapped on the wrist by the league and fined 5,000 dollars. You could certainly argue the “abuse” he has taken on social media was worse than that fine.

This is just the latest example of a player trying to deceive officials to get a call that could completely change the momentum and outcome of a game. There are many other examples of terrible flops online. Feel free to search those next time you want a good laugh.

The current system in place does not punish the players enough, if at all, and there is currently no reason for players to not try flopping in the fourth quarter of close game in an attempt to get every little edge possible. My proposed system punished players as instantly as possible, and would definitely make players think twice about throwing their head backwards when an opposing player swings their elbows and doesn’t make contact.

The Proposal / Cure

It begins by eliminating whatever you want to call those fines. My proposal punished players within minutes of them committing a flop, and puts that new high-tech Replay Center in Secaucus, New Jersey to work.

The official who sits at the scorers table (or an additional league employee) would be responsible for keeping an eye out for potential flops. The refs can work with this person and literally just shoot this employee a look when a flop might have occurred, they are pretty noticeable.)

When anything that looks like a flop occurs, this employee at the scorer’s table messages the NBA Replay Center to notify them to look at the previous play. The Replay Center could take a few minutes to get some replays together to look at the play in question. If there is clear and conclusive evidence (just like the NFL) that contact was not made and a player flopped, the Replay Center messages back to the employee in the arena.

The next stoppage in play (when the refs would come over to the scorer’s table anyway) the refs are notified that player so-and-so flopped when he was guarding so-and-s0. The flopper is notified that he flopped and gets a technical foul while the “floppee,” if called for an offensive foul, gets that foul back.

Since we are at a stoppage in play, the “floppee’s” team gets a technical free throw (remember the flopper just got a tech) and the basketball just like after a regular technical or flagrant foul. That technical foul on the flopper also counts towards the “two technicals in one game and your ejected” rule.

Following the technical the team who just shot the free throw gets possession and the game continues. This is a quick process mainly because the review of the play in question happens off-site while the game continues to go on. I would imagine most of the time the Replay Center can decide and get the call in to the arena within a matter of minutes.

How feasible or realistic this is, but it would definitely deter players and make them think twice about flopping and trying to deceive the officials to gain an advantage for their team. So the next time you see a player clearly flop after the one replay we get on TV, think about how differently the outcome of that game would of been if a better system of punishment had been in place. Oh yeah, you can also think about how little the 5,000 fine they are going to get the next day matters to that player.

Leave your comments on what you think about my proposal below, or tweet them at me @JosephZocco.

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