NEW YORK (AP) - Stop the flop.
The NBA will penalize floppers this season, fining players for repeated violations of an act a league official said Wednesday has “no place in our game.”
Those exaggerated falls to the floor may fool the referees and fans during the game, but officials at league headquarters plan to take a look for themselves afterward.
Players will get a warning the first time, then be fined $5,000 for a second violation. The fines increase to $10,000 for a third offense, $15,000 for a fourth and $30,000 the fifth time. Six or more could lead to a suspension.
“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,” vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson said in a statement. “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.”
The players’ association plans to file a grievance with the league office and an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board, arguing that it should have been consulted first before the new rules were implemented.
“The NBA is not permitted to unilaterally impose new economic discipline against the players without first bargaining with the union,” union executive director Billy Hunter said. “We believe that any monetary penalty for an act of this type is inappropriate and without precedent in our sport or any other sport. We will bring appropriate legal action to challenge what is clearly a vague and arbitrary overreaction and overreach by the commissioner’s office.”
However, a number of players expressed support for the policy. Lakers star Kobe Bryant said he hopes it has an impact on the game.
“I like the rule,” he said. “Shameless flopping, that’s a chump move. We’re familiar with it. Vlade (Divac) kind of pioneered it in that playoff series against Shaq, and it kind of worked for him.”
Players cautioned that it would be difficult to completely eliminate flopping, but welcomed the attempt to try.
“It’s good. Guys can’t be flopping and get away with it anymore,” Oklahoma City guard James Harden said. “It was bound to happen at some point. Obviously, the league got fed up with it and they put it in. I’m happy they did.”
The NBA said 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,” the league said.
Commissioner David Stern has long sought to end flopping, believing it tricks the referees. But the league determined it would be too difficult for refs to make the call on the floor, preferring instead to leave it to league office reviews.
And it says that is within its rights.