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David Stern talks flopping, doesn’t really say much

May 14, 2012, 4:34 PM EST

David Stern AP

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.

  1. chiadam - May 14, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    Unless the officials are brain damaged (which I’m not ruling out) or on the take (also not ruling out, since it’s already sort of happened), it’s not too hard to tell when someone is flopping. And Vogel is absolutely right about the Heat. Funny how a league that CLEARLY, CLEARLY, CLEARLY manipulates outcomes is fining a guy for manipulating.

    • mornelithe - May 14, 2012 at 6:17 PM

      Well, I think that for the most part you are correct….however, all it takes is one screw-up and you could be facing a lawsuit. You know? NFL has the same issue, what to do about players who flop intentionally to slow down no-huddle offenses? We saw plenty of that last year, and we know that most of them were intentionally designed to impact the flow of the game. But, if the ref determines it’s a flop and then it turns out it’s an actual injury….what then? You just penalized a team for a player who’s injured.

      It’s a tough call, but I agree that the majority of these ‘fouls’ are most certainly bad acting.

  2. obijuan13 - May 14, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    See even the commish is in favor of the, “Vlade Divac Award for Best Acting in a NBA Game”, ESPY’s here we come!!!! And the Valde goes to…..

  3. rajbais - May 14, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    Flopping should result in a delay of game penalty or technical foul!!!!

    Delay of game makes more sense because it’s an act that is WAY too blatantly intentional to put the opposing team at a disadvantage like setting the ball in an inconvenient area after a rebound.

  4. rayburns - May 14, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    When I see a guy who weighs about 50 pounds less than, say LaBron James, brushes the aforementioned MVP with his arm while going up for a rebound, and this contact sends LBJ into the second row all the time yelling and screaming about how hard the contact was, I think any official can call that a flop.

    I’m not saying that LaBron is the only one who flops (he isn’t) or that he’s even one of the worse floppers (he isn’t). But he certainly needs to pick out better circumstances to practice his art.

  5. chrisppers - May 14, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    One solution the league may want to look at is forming a flopping committee of retired players.

    The committee would be of players from all different positions and teams played for.

    They will vote on any play nominated by anyone on the committee after games. With a majority vote, the player should be assessed a “Technical Flop”(TF) for which they will be fined and after a certain amount (41? – 1 per 2 games) they receive a suspension.

    They could also increase the fines after certain amounts 0-10=$10K; 10-20=$25K; 20-30=$50K; and 30-40=$100K each TF. That would be over $1M they would be fined if they got to the suspension level! Think that would most likely put an end to it.

    All the money should go to charity, something like a battered woman’s organization.

  6. gugurich - May 14, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    It’s going to be impossible to call every flop but if you can access special flopping (unsportsmanlike) technicals after video reviews, hopefully egregious flops can be stopped. I’m referring to flops like Reggie Evans almost getting Grevis Vasquez ejected with a spurious flagrant 2 or Lebron James winking after a flop last year against Chicago or Lebron clutching his throat after taking contact on his chest. It doesn’t seem right that you can get away with obvious flops that soil the product and turn fans away.

    What gets me is that the League office instituted a respect the game technical a few seasons ago because surveys showed that fans dislike whining. They overshot their mark and the overzealous rule was toned down but it had the effect of eliminating most extending whining. If they’re going by surveys, why aren’t they taking more of an initiative to deal with flopping? It has to be one of the biggest gripe by fans.

  7. Mr. Wright 212 - May 14, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    I hear you talkin’ but you ain’t sayin’ nothin’…

    He could have handed out the MVP AND the Oscar award yesterday. All that lip service Stern made yesterday in-game makes most prosses jealous. He ain’t gonna do a single thing.

  8. boilerup1869 - May 14, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    Vogel was right about the Heat though, Mr. Stern.

    • duane888 - May 14, 2012 at 9:52 PM

      You must be a Indiana fan knowing that your team might be swept?! The ref’s are the only leverage your team can hope for.

      • comeonnowguys - May 15, 2012 at 11:47 AM

        He was and is completely right. Miami’s a bunch of floppers. Not the only ones, of course, but if you’ve got this grouping of superstars (and Bosh), it’s a bad example for the rest of the league.

        Technical foul sounds about right.

        They don’t need to flop to sweep the Pacers. But they do it anyway.

        Heat in 4.

      • boilerup1869 - May 15, 2012 at 12:57 PM

        bulls fan homey

  9. furio2929 - May 15, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    I’m a Manu fan but cp3 n Blake look like the attended the University of flopping. UF.

  10. aahhyeahsucka - May 16, 2012 at 12:57 AM

    You suck Stern! FTW!

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