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NBA’s anti-flopping rules could be headed to arbitration

Jul 23, 2013, 9:08 PM EST

Memphis Grizzlies v San Antonio Spurs - Game Two Getty Images

At the conclusion of the NBA’s Board of Governors meetings last week in Las Vegas, in addition to announcing a few minor rule changes, David Stern said that the anti-flopping rules that were in place for last season will continue without alteration.

“There was a report on our flopping rules and the competition committee thought they were working well and didn’t recommend any changes to them,” Stern said.

Just how well they’re working is certainly debatable. But the fact that the league has a policy in place for disciplining its players that wasn’t collectively bargained with the National Basketball Players Association (i.e., the union) may be cause for legal action.

From Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:

“We are now in the process of scheduling a case with our arbitrator to determine whether the NBA is allowed to unilaterally impose discipline in an area that exceeds the commissioner’s authority without the consent of the union,” NBPA interim executive director Ron Klempner told CBSSports.com on Tuesday. “It’s a subject they need to bargain with us, and we hope that the arbitrator will find that any type of discipline must be collectively bargained.”

When the league imposed the new flopping penalties, NBA spokesman Tim Frank said: “Our adoption of an anti-flopping rule is fully consistent with our rights and obligations under the collective bargaining agreement and the law.”

It’s a complicated situation legally speaking, even though it seems like from a practical standpoint that the league should be able to implement something like this without much resistance.

The fines associated with flopping don’t even start until a player’s second offense of the regular season, and are so minimal in relation to an NBA salary that the financial component has yet to prove to be a deterrent to the behavior, and likely won’t impact it anytime soon.

The public shaming of players who receive warnings is honestly more likely to curtail the behavior, although with a game or a playoff series on the line, don’t think for a second that players will hesitate to try to sell a call to an official in order to help their team gain a momentary advantage.

  1. money2long - Jul 23, 2013 at 9:37 PM

    is there a chalk outline in that picture above ? tony allen.. talk about milking.

  2. tigershark49 - Jul 23, 2013 at 9:46 PM

    If the league spokesman is correct when saying it is in the CBA, then this is a non issue. Quit flopping anyway and play some defense!

  3. ghelton03 - Jul 23, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    NBA is the only sport that I know people who won’t watch the sport, because of the officiating. That is sad and the NBA’s only response is to fine those that complain. Under Stern, there has never been any effort to improve officiating and under Stern there will never be any effort to improve it. There will only be fines to those that point out the elephant in the room. And, consider under Stern there was a ref convicted of cheating and is serving time. Can Stern fine me for saying that?

  4. ghelton03 - Jul 23, 2013 at 10:24 PM

    NBA needs to figure out how to officiate:
    1. What is a foul and how to call it consistently.
    2. What is traveling and how to call it consistently
    3. What is a technical foul and how to call it consistently.
    4. What is a flop and how to call it consistently.

    Bottom line is NBA has much bigger issues to address than flopping, which they are not addressing. Is the NBA using flopping as a diversion to problems they cannot fix?

  5. northstarnic - Jul 23, 2013 at 11:16 PM

    Flopping is as NBA as apple pie is American.

    • mrwhiteshadez - Jul 24, 2013 at 9:24 AM

      ……..nope.

  6. davidly - Jul 24, 2013 at 4:47 AM

    American is as apple pie as the NBA is flopping.

  7. themagicfanguy - Jul 24, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    ……yup.

  8. ProBasketballPundit - Jul 24, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    The fines seemed to work initially then flopping came back in a major way when the stakes were raised in the playoffs. I would prefer to see the fines go away and the NBA impose a much stricter policy for obvious flops. For flops that are obviously intentional and very very exaggerated, the player should be suspended for a game. No escalating penalties or fines, just a 1-game suspension for every extremely obvious flop. Forget about the minor ones.

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