The subject of players selling contact to officials, or even downright faking it in hopes of duping a referee into blowing a favorable whistle has become a hotter topic than ever this season, thanks to a new anti-flopping policy enacted which was designed to clean this mess up.
It hasn’t had the desired effect, however, because the spotlight is on these types of plays now more than ever, and they’re continuing to take place even at the highest level of the sport during the NBA Finals.
In fact, unless penalties increase and become much, much stiffer, the league may never rid itself of these plays entirely. Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki said he believes that to be the case.
From ESPN Dallas:
“We’re never going to get rid of it,” Nowitzki said recently, according to The Dallas Morning News. “But you got to limit it. It’s part of sports. It’s part of winning. Some people are smart and do a little extra thing to kind of sell the call. To me, that’s part of sports.”
Nowitzki’s head coach in Dallas, Rick Carlisle, is a member of the NBA’s competition committee. And he said recently that an increase in penalties for flopping isn’t going to happen anytime soon.
“The competition committee met this week and a lot of progress has been made this past year and in the playoffs with the rule decreasing the amount of flops and attempted flops,’’ Carlisle said Saturday. “I believe we’re going to stay the course with the rule basically the way it is, and just continue to work to clean it up.
“And as time goes on, if it needs to be addressed again, it’ll be addressed again.’’
While the competition committee has a strong say in these matters, the commissioner’s office could truly impact the issue by making the fines for flopping far more substantial, or help push rule changes that would make consequences far more severe in real-time, during game situations.
But David Stern, who will leave his commissioner’s post next February, said that the league is only interested in stopping the blatant and egregious plays, as opposing to cracking down to the point where flopping could disappear from the game altogether.
“The report is that [flopping] is down,” Stern said, in an interview on NBATV before Game 5 of the Finals. “We’re calling attention to the obvious flops. We aren’t getting totally carried away with it.”
To translate what all of that means: At least for the time being, Nowitzki is right.