David Stern has the politician’s gift of being able to talk about something without really saying anything.
So it was when he got asked about the flopping by ABC’s Lisa Salters during Game 1 between the Heat and Pacers Sunday. Flopping was an issue in this series because Pacers coach Frank Vogel started working the refs saying the Heat flopped even before Game 1, for which he was promptly fined. Stern said (via ESPN):
“(Vogel) didn’t have a beef; he was just manipulating the refereeing or trying to,” Stern said. “I would have fined him much more than our office did.”
As for the bigger issue of flopping in the NBA… start the tap dance music:
“I think it’s time to look at (flopping) in a more serious way,” Stern said, “because it’s only designed to fool the referee. It’s not a legitimate play in my judgment. I recognize if there’s contact (you) move a little bit, but some of this is acting. We should give out Oscars rather than MVP trophies….
“Some years ago I told the competition committee that we were going to start fining people for flopping, and then suspending. And I think they almost threw me out of the room (saying), ‘No, let it be.’ “
The problem with crackdowns on flopping is you are asking referees to judge intent of the players — that usually goes about as well as trying to legislate morality. Sometimes watching slow motion at our homes it is obvious, but it doesn’t look that way at full speed. It’s hard enough to call charging/blocking at the NBA level, now you want to referees to focus on intent?
It would be nice to see the referees call out some of the more obvious flops and penalize a player, which every owner probably will say is a good idea until it happens to their team a couple times.
Look for this to be an issue over the summer when the owners talk about rule changes.