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New NBA rules aim to stop flopping

New penalties aim to stop the growing problem

Tom Pennington - Getty Images

Fans of the league and the media members who cover the sport have asked for rules to be put in place to rid the sport of flopping for a long, long time. There is a fine line between gamesmanship and cheating; flopping in the NBA has gone way past the point of gamesmanship and has really started to effect the integrity of the sport. Flopping is an embarrassment, and in close games buying a bad call with acting can decide the outcome. Frankly I don't get how it became this big of a problem because it's a very un-manly thing to do in competition, but I'm glad the league is taking steps to fix the problem.

Finally, the NBA announced on Wednesday that they will start penalizing players who flop, but how effective will the new rules be? Below is the statement from league regarding this change in policy:

"Flops have no place in our game – they either fool referees into calling undeserved fouls or fool fans into thinking the referees missed a foul call," Jackson said. "Accordingly, both the Board of Governors and the Competition Committee felt strongly that any player who the league determines, following video review, to have committed a flop should – after a warning – be given an automatic penalty."

"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.

Physical acts that constitute legitimate basketball plays (such as moving to a spot in order to draw an offensive foul) and minor physical reactions to contact will not be treated as flops.

Any player who is determined to have committed a flop during the regular season will be subject to the following:

Violation 1: Warning
Violation 2: $5,000 fine
Violation 3: $10,000 fine
Violation 4: $15,000 fine
Violation 5: $30,000 fine

If a player violates the anti-flopping rule six times or more, he will be subject to discipline that is reasonable under the circumstances, including an increased fine and/or suspension.

The league will announce at a later date a separate set of penalties for flopping that will apply during the playoffs.

Six strikes and your out? I like the idea of putting in penalties for floppers but what does a 5,000 fine mean to a player making over ten million dollars a year? Kobe Bryant makes $339,621 per game; even at the highest level of proposed fines, what does 30,000 mean to him? Not only is the dollar amount laughable, but the review process takes place after the game is over so the flopper still achieves his goal in buying a cheap foul and affecting the outcome of the game. I don't believe this change will stop flopping and with officials having to make judgement calls on 'what makes a flop', there will be controversy over who gets penalized and who gets a pass.

I appreciate the effort from the league to address the problem, but I don't believe these new penalties have the teeth to take a bite out of flopping. The penalties are weak, and more of a slap on the wrist than a penalty that will change the playing style of the leagues worst offenders. Predictably, the players union has filed a grievance because the NBA made the change on their own without consulting the union. Hopefully this is just a first step and the penalties become more severe in the future before basketball becomes soccer.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.