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June 12, 2013

The Flop: The Integral Degredation of Basketball and Soccer

by Sam Ranard

FlopAgainA “Flop” is when a player intentionally falls over with little to no physichal contact from opposing players, with the intention of drawing a foul. Because flopping is deceiving and dishonest, flopping is generally considered to be unsportsmanlike, and in my opinion, soft. Regardless, many players are well practiced in the art of flopping. This includes some of the world’s top athletes. Flopping is often associated with basketball and soccer. However, there are several differences between basketball flops and soccer flops. The top two being how players react to their own flop (the actual flop itself) and how the sport handles such behavior.

In soccer the flop is so flamboyant I can’t even watch it anymore. Basketball players flop, and it is annoying, childish and in poor taste. However, when basketball players flop, they get right back up and continue playing. Soccer players on the other hand (at least a majority of them) follow up their flops by rolling around on the ground, clutching their shins in the fetal position, screaming, kicking and flailing before finally deciding that they are in fact perfectly fine, hop up, and start sprinting around. It is embarrassing and hard to watch. There are people who break bones and lose limbs that have less of a reaction to their injury. I can not and will not watch soccer games until something is done regarding the attention seeking and humiliating soccer flop. It is comparable to a two-year-old who falls over, looks around and begins screaming and crying until their mother runs to console them. As soon as the parent tends to the child, the child stops crying. This is the exact mentality of soccer players. Kick and scream until a referee acknowledges their pain.

The most confusing aspect to me is that the players do know that instant replay exists… Right? That everyone at home will clearly see that there was little to no contact, let alone contact that would send a 6’8″ 250 lb man flying through the air? LaFlop  James  King Flop  The Chosen Flopper  LeBron James is notorious for his floppy antics. When LeBron finishes his career I predict that he will have 4 or 5 championship rings and 7 Oscars.

Fans never have to watch baseball players launch themselves into the air every time a fastball comes inside. They could act like they got hit by the pitch, start seizing and roll all of the way to first base, but they don’t. What if football players flopped every time someone made contact with them? It would be one hour of watching 22 grown men roll around on the field.

Something must be done. I honestly believe that soccer is too far gone, and the fans have accepted flopping. This is not the case in the NBA. This year, David Stern, the commissioner of the NBA, implemented a fine for flagrant floppers. While the fine is a step in the right direction, it still does not make a difference in the specific game where the fined flop was used. In fact, two weeks ago, LeBron and two Pacers were fined $5,000 for flopping. Unfortunately, if a referee calls a foul based on a flop, the flopper might be fined at a later date, but the foul stands and the game goes on. In a game that is won or lost by single digits, a floppy foul can be game changing, in the playoffs it can cost a team a shot at a ring. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has put up $100,000 to go towards researching what is and is not a flop. Cuban Tweeted, “Is it a flop? Let the scientists figure it out. Im paying for the research to find out.” Hopefully, The Cubes funding will discover a penicillin for this pesky Flopacoccus.

Social Media Blogger Mike “The Blogging Bulldog” Brokamp commented on flopping (regarding basketball) from a different perspective. Brokamp believes that, if its within the rules, then it is fair game. “Players who flop  are not playing with the best kind of sportsmanship, up until this year (at least in the NBA) they didn’t penalize players for flopping and trying to milk penalties out of refs.” Brokamp says. “I think athletes should be able to do anything they can within the rules to win.

If this means pulling a Vlade Divac (see video below) and diving to the ground every time to you are tapped to try and pull a penalty, while it is cheap and I would recommend playing hard over playing cheap to my players, until the rules are in place, they can do it. It is similar to how golf is outlawing the belly putter. So, if it’s not written as a rule, they should be allowed to do it, although the public may think you are not a true athlete.”

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