NBA to consider adding retroactive penalties for flopping?

By Ben Golliver | Blogger
James Harden is one of a number of NBA players who has developed a reputation for flopping. (Getty Images)

Flopping -- simulating a foul that didn't actually occur or exaggerating contact that did -- is right at the top of the list of just about everyone's NBA pet peeves.

NBA commissioner David Stern sounds pretty sick of the practice too. The Associated Press reports on Monday that the NBA's Competition Committee is investigating ways that it can curb the ridiculous and unnecessary drama that marred many a game this past season.

The NBA commissioner believes too many players are deceiving referees into calling fouls by falling down, or flopping. So he and the league's newly reformed competition committee met Monday for a discussion about how it can be prevented.

One option, Stern said, is a "postgame analysis" in which a player could be penalized if it was determined he flopped. The league retroactively upgrades or downgrades flagrant fouls after review, and along those lines he said that perhaps a player could receive a message from New York saying: "Greetings from the league office. You have been assigned flopper status."

"No, I'm joking, but something like that," Stern said. "That sort of lets people know that it's not enough to say `it's all part of the game."'

Back in April, Los Angeles Clippers forward Reggie Evans executed the flop of the year, flailing backwards while setting a screen on New Orleans Hornets guard Greivis Vasquez. His flop was so ridiculous that the refereeing crew actually hit Vasquez with a Flagrant Foul 2 -- meaning an automatic ejection -- before reviewing the play and downgrading it to a simple foul.

I suggested at the time that if the league could use video review to straighten out the Flagrant Foul situation they might as well add a video review system that was capable of punishing Evans for his unnecessary and unsportsmanlike tomfoolery.

Admittedly, this could turn into a bureaucratic nightmare. (That's a risk any time aspects of the officiating are centralized.) Still, there are a select number of repeat offenders and a small number of totally ridiculous flops that could be significantly curbed with the threat of fines or suspensions. Take away the 10 percent of flops that are the most blatant and that's a significant improvement, one that just about everyone can agree upon.

If it has to happen after the game, that's fine. A consistent crackdown after the fact is better than split-second decisions that require an in-game review process that slows down the live experience. Done properly, a retroactive system should sink in as a deterrant, just like the league's annual "points of emphasis" are able to affect player behavior within a few months at the most.

Kudos to the league for at least beginning to address the issue. Even if no solution is implemented immediately, acknowledging that there is a problem is much better than pretending it doesn't exist.

 
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