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David Stern admits small flopping fines didn’t work, penalties may increase

Jun 6, 2013, 8:25 PM EDT

NBA Commissioner Stern holds a news conference before Game 1 of the NBA Finals basketball playoff in Miami Reuters

David Stern was selling it as a first step.

This season the NBA started publicly warning and making small fines against players who had the most egregious flops — it started with a warning then the fines started at $5,000 and went up with subsequent offenses. In the playoffs, all that changed was the warnings went away. The goal seemed to be to try and shame the players into compliance.

Didn’t work. NBA Commissioner David Stern admitted at his pre-finals press conference it didn’t work at that the penalties need to increase.

“It isn’t enough. It isn’t enough.,” Stern said. “You’re not going to cause somebody to stop it for $5,000 when the average player’s salary is 5.5 million. And anyone who thought that was going to happen was allowing hope to prevail over reason. But you take a step and you begin to see it.”

So will the NBA take the next step?

“Yes, I think we do,” Stern said. “I think we have the data. I don’t know if we have the stomach. And we’ll have to see what happens with the Competition Committee and the Board.”

It sounds like what he is saying is not only bigger fines, but also to expand the kind calls that are made. Last season only the most obvious were called out, that could change.

But what Stern really tried to do was sell this year’s flopping fines as the first step, not the expected solution to the problem.

“We knew that flopping was going to be far from perfect,” Stern said. “And we gather more attention because we were giving it more attention. But the point was to do it gently, look at all the flops, and there have been plenty, penalize the most egregious very gently. We could end that immediately if we decided to suspend players, but that might be a little bit draconian at the moment. And so it’s going to be up to the Board and the Competition Committee to decide how much they want to do.”

  1. tampajoey - Jun 6, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    Penalize Lebron for flopping by making him remove his headband for a game. He’d never flop again after that.

    • joestemme - Jun 7, 2013 at 12:17 AM

      Absolutely. AFTER LeFlop admitted that he flops, he goes out and does an Emmy worthy flop in Game 6 against the Indiana.

      Stern suspends LeFlop for Game 7.

      EVERY player in the league would take flopping seriously.

      It’s your ball, Stern.

  2. jamieaadams - Jun 6, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    Penalize officials who call flops in the first place. And then penalize Joey Crawford just for the heck of it.

    • money2long - Jun 7, 2013 at 12:22 AM

      the refs are getting tricked. the players are doing the fooling. the players should get fined because they are intentionally doing something misleading. the refs are victims. why would they get fined ?

  3. yousuxxors - Jun 6, 2013 at 10:30 PM

    the best way would be to have the refs stop calling so many small fouls. can’t blame them for some because with their angles maybe head turned they can’t catch the flop. they call way to many fouls nowadays.

  4. nawlinsmitty - Jun 6, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    Are all of you idiots? The reason that the college game is almost unwatchable is because those guys regularly mug each other without fouls being called. As a result, more and more mugging takes place. Truth be told, not enough fouls are called in the pro game. Too much holding, carrying, pushing off, and hacking.

    • stanmrak - Jun 7, 2013 at 1:10 PM

      Basketball is the only sport where teams get repeatedly rewarded for committing fouls, even INTENTIONAL fouls (fouls that are not ruled as such, even tho we all know they’re intentional – like when a guy is going in for a dunk and gets tackled). Obviously, fouls are not penalized harshly enough.

  5. deiong - Jun 6, 2013 at 11:46 PM

    they need to be fined 10K and penalized 2 games without pay. that’ll stop it real fast , face it the moneys just for charity, but the penalized 2 games without pay will end it real fast. no one will ever flop in a playoff game much less 5 times in one game. like king flops-a-lot.

    • badintent - Jun 7, 2013 at 11:28 PM

      That would required someone that has more brains than Stu Jackson. Can we get Jerry Sloan in this position ?His hard nose defense coaching style would not tolerate Flopping or any other playing acting stunts.

  6. steelcitywhitty - Jun 7, 2013 at 12:47 AM

    forget 5k – start with 1% then 2% then 4% … that will get their attention

  7. scottheis82 - Jun 7, 2013 at 12:52 AM

    Just make it a tech and call it a day.

  8. scottheis82 - Jun 7, 2013 at 12:57 AM

    ” just call it a tech and call it day” sorry posted by accident… if I may continue; if the ref catches it in game it a tech in the game, if it is caught in review it counts as a tech for the next game.

    • kchristainsen - Jun 7, 2013 at 9:06 AM

      Agree. Refs can tell the blatant flops so T them up. Just like in soccer you get a yellow card for blatant dives. The not so blatant ones the league can review and fine accordingly.

    • targhee159 - Jun 7, 2013 at 1:15 PM

      I like that especially since accumulation of technicals leads to missing games. Raise the fines, add a tech and move on.

  9. sabatimus - Jun 7, 2013 at 1:33 AM

    Hey David: DUH. If you were really interested in stopping flopping, you’d dock each player 10 games salary.

  10. zacksdad - Jun 7, 2013 at 2:04 AM

    Very easy solution. Create a list of the top floppers before a game. Give the list to the refs and tell them to only give those players on the list calls when they are absolutely sure they got fouled. If they complain, tell them to stop flopping and they will get off the list.

  11. wammygiveaway - Jun 7, 2013 at 3:22 AM

    Look, there’s nothing that can be done. As long as flopping exists, it makes basketball look rigged. In fact, players purposely rig the games by flopping just to steal a win that is undeserving. Sometimes, the refs are in on the flop, inadvertently protecting the star player(s) at any cost because of the repercussions the league could get from the fans if they become perceived as liars, cheaters and stealers: like if they were Eddie Guerrero (R.I.P.).

    The only way to stop the flop is to suspend players. Now, with Stern considering an officials sideline (like how the NHL does it), it opens up the possibility of immediately ejecting players from the game on the spot to make certain that there’s no further rigging of the sport.

    If Stern’s gotta go Draconian, so be it. But I’d rather have that than having to see the players fined or getting a technical foul. Besides which, a player needs to get two techs to get ejected anyway – why not just eject him so they won’t have to worry about the player purposely rigging the game again.

  12. darthsat - Jun 7, 2013 at 7:35 AM

    Fining doesn’t work because different players view the sum differently. The player should be given a 1 game suspension. Right now they don’t care because it gives their team an advantage when flipping. They’d stop if they had to miss a game and hurt their team.

  13. lolo376 - Jun 7, 2013 at 7:51 AM

    Make them lose a game, no pay! They’ll get the hint then.

  14. abnparatrooper - Jun 7, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    I have thought all season that flopping should result in a technical foul. And they should be included in the total that when a player reaches they receive an automatic one game suspension. If players get suspended for every flop they commit then Le crybaby James would end up playing in every other game all season.

  15. gofish721 - Jun 7, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    Who the #&%@ cares? If it was a charging foul then just call it. If it was a blocking foul then just call it. If there was no foul then the flopping dumbass on the floor better get his butt up off the floor and hustle back into the play. Maybe I don’t get it I realize, but why the intense interest in stopping this? Make the right call and if a guy needlessly flops, then so what. It shouldn’t be rocket science to tel if a guy as huge as LBJ gets hits sufficiently to go down…

    Punters in the NFL always act like they got hit by a defender rushing by and there’s no national outcry to end it!

    Maybe Sterns should be stopping players like D Wade from giving flying elbows while running down court with impunity before another Rudy T incidence occurs. Maybe Sterns should go get himself a lobotomy…

  16. jwhitberg - Jun 7, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    Double T (automatic ejection – 2 free throws and ball out to the opposing team) + $10k fine first offense; Double T and 2 game suspension for subsequent offenses in the same year

  17. stanmrak - Jun 7, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    While we’re at it, how about addressing the penalties for ALL fouls? They obviously aren’t harsh enough because every game has about a dozen or so intentional fouls. Not called intentional of course, but we all know they are.

    Someone going in for an easy basket? Tackle him (deliberately) so he can’t make the shot and force him to make 2 free throws (better odds).

    Need the ball back in the last minute? Tackle somebody (deliberately) who is a poor free throw shooter. REWARDED for FOULING!

    Ahead by three in the last seconds? Foul (deliberately) so the other team can only get 2 points. Again, REWARDED for FOULING!

    Teams foul intentionally because they know there’s a potential reward for doing so. What other sport has this issue? NONE.

  18. stanmrak - Jun 7, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Ever notice how the last 60 seconds of a close basketball game takes over 10 minutes in real time to play? Averaged out over the 48 minutes, it would take 8 hours to play a complete game. An average minute of a game takes only about 2 minutes to play.

    Deliberate fouls, commercials, time out, free throws, another foul, time out, commercial, free throws, time out, deliberate foul, ad nauseum.

    Thank god for DVRs and fast forward.

  19. bigbadass - Jun 7, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    It’s easy, call flopping penalties and when a player reaches a certain number he losses a game to suspension then after that everytime he gets 3 more he loses another game. I’ve always thought it hilarious that 6’9 240 lb men can be knocked down by one bump. Also, don’t allow players to muscle into posting position by knocking players backward two or three times. After the first bump the next one is either a charge or a flop.

  20. mazblast - Jun 7, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    The fines need to increase–make the first one half a game’s pay, the second a full game’s pay, the third a two-game unpaid suspension, the fourth a 10-game unpaid suspension. However, that’s only the start of it.

    The big issue is enforcement. Until we seem some stars suspended for their continuous and obvious flopping, especially on offense, no one is going to take this seriously. LBJ, KoMe, Dyane Wade, Pierce, Carmelo–Ring these guys up, maybe rule that anyone who gets a flop suspension is ineligible to play in the so-called All-Star Game, and maybe you’ll see some change overall. Plus, the games will be shorter when there’s less whining and lobbying for calls.

    The third step is to start suspending officials who overlook obvious flops.

  21. ronthecubsfan - Jun 7, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    Look at the NHL: You get a minor penalty for “Embellishment” That hurts your team right away. What’s the NBA equivalent? Technical foul?

  22. ghelton03 - Jun 8, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    If the NBA really wants to get rid of flopping make it a technical foul. The floppers team gets penalized immediately.

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