Thursday, April 19, 2018
Sports

League no longer will tolerate flopping

NEW YORK — Starting this season, the NBA will penalize floppers, an act a league official said Wednesday has "no place in our game."

The exaggerated falls might fool referees, but the league plans to take a look for itself afterward.

Players will get a warning the first time, be fined $5,000 for a second violation, $10,000 for a third, $15,000 for a fourth and $30,000 for a fifth. A sixth could lead to a suspension.

"Flops have no place in our game," vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson said in a statement released by the league. "They either fool referees into calling undeserved fouls or fool fans into thinking the referees missed a foul call."

In response to the announcement, the players union said it plans to file a grievance and unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board. It believes it should have been consulted.

"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."

The league determined it would be too difficult for referees to make the call on the floor, preferring instead to leave it to league office reviews. And it said it is within its rights to unilaterally impose the rule.

"Although we haven't seen any filing from the Players Association, our adoption of an antiflopping rule is fully consistent with our rights and obligations under the collective bargaining agreement and the law," league spokesman Tim Frank said.

Some players favor the rule.

"Shameless flopping, that's a chump move," Lakers star Kobe Bryant said.

Forward Rasheed Wallace raged against flopping for years, picking up many of his 308 technical fouls for arguing after he was called for a foul because a player flopped.

"You (reporters) thought I was crazy for saying it over the last so-and-so years," said Wallace, 38, who ended a two-year retirement to join the Knicks. "They needed to bend on that."

Flopping will be defined as a "physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul. … 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."

Some players cautioned it would be difficult to completely eliminate flopping but welcomed the attempt.

"Guys can't … get away with it anymore," Thunder guard James Harden said. "Obviously, the league got fed up with it. I'm happy they did."

Then there was Cavs center Anderson Varejao, a renowned flopper and once a target of Wallace's wrath. "I'm not flopping anymore," he said Monday with a smile. "I used to flop a little bit."

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