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Video: Rudy Fernandez flops, ref whistles Matt Barnes for a technical foul

Feb 4, 2012, 4:00 PM EDT

During the fourth quarter of the Lakers’ win over the Nuggets on Friday, Matt Barnes swung his elbows a bit to clear some space, while he had possession of the ball and with Rudy Fernandez closely defending. It appeared in real time that Barnes may have made contact with Fernandez, in no small part due to the way that Rudy’s neck snapped backwards like he had just been punched in the face.

The referee immediately whistled Barnes for a technical, despite Barnes repeatedly pleading his case by saying,”I didn’t hit him.” On the telecast, Hubie Brown also thought the referee may have been duped by Fernandez.

“He misses him, but the referee probably thought from his angle that he hit him,” Brown says.

But despite Fernandez’s despicable effort, the referee did not believe that contact had been made.

Barnes would have been issued a personal foul in addition to the technical if he had in fact caught Fernandez in the face. Since there was no contact, the official was simply enforcing what is written in the Conduct section of the NBA rule book regarding the throwing of ‘bows (from Section V, paragraph d., no. 6):

“A technical foul shall be assessed for unsportsmanlike tactics such as: A deliberately-thrown elbow or any attempted physical act with no contact involved.”

So, good for the refs for getting it right. Now, onto Fernandez.

There’s no way to make this any clearer: Flopping is the scourge of professional sports. Saying that’s it’s somehow part of the game and that it’s up to the referees to determine what’s real and what isn’t is completely insane.

The officials have a hard enough job just getting the most basic of calls correct. They shouldn’t be put in a position where they’re trying to guess whether or not a player flying backwards did so as a result of contact, or did so simply to goad the referee into blowing the whistle.

Put simply, what do we want to see as sports fans? Players at the highest level of competition doing everything they can within the rules to win, or players faking contact on plays in order to trick the referees into making calls in their team’s favor?

Fernandez’s play was ridiculous, but within the rules. It would be nice if those rules were changed so that Fernandez would be the one receiving the technical on a play like this in the future.

  1. hodaghunter - Feb 4, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    This is one of the deals that I hate about the NBA… makes the game hard to watch.

  2. digitalpoo - Feb 4, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    The league seems to have no problem reviewing flagrant fouls and issuing fines later. Why not start fining players after reviewing crap like this. It would sure stop the flop problem.

    • mannyfresh209 - Feb 4, 2012 at 5:30 PM

      I agree. This type of call, in the future, could be a game-changer.

      Any “personal foul” type of call should be reviewed on the spot to determine if the call is warranted, or not.

      NFL personal fouls for illegal hits on WR’s are often times proven to be LEGAL hits, yet the calls/penalty yards stay. Often changing a lot of the game’s outcome.

      NBA should do the same thing. This could’ve been in the waning seconds of a tied-game, and that technical FT by Miller could’ve essentially won the game….all based on a FLOP.

      Has to change, and I completely agree with fining players for doing such nonsense.

  3. ferhatiggy - Feb 4, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    Spanish guys must stop making role.Navarro,Gasol brothers and now Rudy.

  4. polarbearsquares - Feb 4, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    The refs in this game were awful. Horrendous. There were several blatant fouls not called and invariably they always to the disadvantage of the Lakers. Kobe was tackled and there should’ve been a loose ball foul. Bynum was clearly fouled on an open dunk and they rewarded the ball to Denver. I’m not saying the fix was in but the refs were just terrible last night and it almost cost the Lakers the game.

  5. deadeyedesign23 - Feb 4, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    Maybe they already do, but can the league retroactively T him up for this? Obviously it can’t change the game, but it’ll count toward his total for the year.

  6. rodgersmvp - Feb 4, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    No article on the horrible Blake Griffin flop against the Utah Jazz? He drives me nuts

    • mannyfresh209 - Feb 4, 2012 at 5:41 PM

      Haha really though… he’s physically an absolute BEAST… and as much power/force as he puts in on those dunks that we haven’t really seen from a player other than Dwight, he lacks that old-school tough guy mentality. Those flops of his are absolutely atrocious lol

  7. b7p19 - Feb 4, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    I HATE flopping, but that’s not a flop to me. If someone takes a swipe at my face my first reaction is going to be snapping my head back so I don’t get hit. I have no problem with Rudy on this one.

  8. tomshoe - Feb 4, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    Come on, us unathletic guys need some way to defend too.

  9. ramblingalb - Feb 4, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    “Flopping is the scourge of professional sports. Saying that’s it’s somehow part of the game and that it’s up to the referees to determine what’s real and what isn’t is completely insane.”

    Drama much? Flopping is also known as doing what it takes to win, be it leaning into an inside pitch to walk to 1B, working the referees, throwing your hands up in the air when the opponent gets all ball, and the like.

    The irony here is, the refs got it right. You’re not supposed to swing your elbows, and Barnes did. It’s not a foul, it’s a T. And save the overreacting for a real problem, son. Grow up

    • tontoepstein - Feb 4, 2012 at 10:10 PM

      Bull. It was not a foul and the league has Vlade Divac wannabes coming out of its Hollywood ears. It cheapens the game.

  10. tontoepstein - Feb 4, 2012 at 10:04 PM

    Disappointed in Hubie Brown here, it was pretty unprofessional and fraudulent of him not to admit his mistake, instead he tried to cover it up.

  11. ljl2 - Feb 4, 2012 at 10:23 PM

    So before we had replays and slow-motion, do we really think that some of the best players didn’t do this? We always blast defensive players for “flopping” but what about the offensive players who act like they’ve been shot after THEY initiate the contact?

  12. Fink - Feb 4, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    Really nice objective reporting here. I love your neutral stance, Brett. That said, I agree completely with ramblinggalb, flopping is just a part of sports… you cover professional sports, you should be used to it by now. Ever seen a soccer game during the road to the World Cup? It is a tactic that (almost) every sport uses. Time to step down off that pedestal.

  13. progress2011 - Feb 5, 2012 at 12:24 AM

    Matt Barnes is the true definition of ” unsportsmanlike ” !!! He has mediocre talent at scoring, rebounding or pretending to be a tough guy ( a.k.a. Dennis Rodman ).

    He is a low class, low life that attempts to hurt another player because everyone on the floor is more talented than he is.

    Then he has an old skool, Prince 1999 texturizer hair do !!!

    SCRUB !!!

  14. weaselpuppy - Feb 5, 2012 at 3:07 AM

    Every egregious flop should incur a Scola to Kevin Love’s Nads Shot at halfcourt…and a tech….and a pink jersey for the rest of the game

  15. borderline1988 - Feb 6, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    Seems to me like a lot of overreaction is taking place here.
    1) The ref made the right call

    2) How is that a flop on Rudy Fernandez’ part? Barnes was throwing elbows at his face, and it was very likely that Rudy would have been nailed in the face if he hadn’t moved. It was instinctive on Rudy’s part, just like anybody would’ve done (who stands there and just takes an elbow to the face?). A flop is intentional, this was instinctive.

    3) I never understood why defenders always take so much heat for trying to sell calls, when the game’s stars do it on every play down the floor on offense. Dwayne Wade for instance, falls down on every drive to the basket. Pierce is probably the biggest cryer in NBA history. Bryant certainly does his fair share of falling and screaming in pain when he drives to the basket, whether someone legitimately fouled him or not.

    Whether it’s right or wrong to sell calls is anyone’s opinion. But you have to have consistency.
    For instance, it’s ingrained in basketball fundamentals to fall backwards when taking a charge, even if a player could easily stand their ground. How is that okay, when moving your face away from flying elbows is not?

    • tontoepstein - Sep 15, 2012 at 12:50 AM

      “Instinctive.” Hilarious. If by “instinctive” you mean it was a reflex response for some wimpy mammal to play dead, then you’re right. You obviously don’t have a clue who Rudy Fernandez is.

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