What a round. With so much exciting action on and off the court, it is a great time to be a NBL fan. But with brutal injuries, tribunal hearings, and the league apparently sitting some refs down for re-education following some sketchy calls (I don’t know for sure, I couldn’t find anything on that messy looking NBL website), I think it is time to address the white elephant in the room, and that is flopping.
It has got to the point where it has detracted from the game, and directly influenced the outcome of a game. It must be some badge of honour for the NBL to have its Player of the Month putting on an Oscar worthy performance dropping to the floor with such gusto. Hilarity ensued with a comical sequence of events that saw an unsportmanlike foul called on the floppee resulting in free throws and possession for Melbourne, effectively handing them the game.
This goes beyond Goulding. Yes he, and a handful of other players have reputations for flopping but it is ultimately the refereeing ethos that has allowed this to eventuate to epidemic levels. You may attribute this to previous NBL management, but it is current management’s issue now. Time and time again I have cringed at the site of a player dropping to the floor as if they were sniped only to be rewarded with the call. Though exact details are sketchy, I seem to recall, a season or two ago, a referee call a charge, then issue a warning for flopping. How can it be both?
It is clear there is a failure in the system and Leader Suit Larry has his work cut out for him. To fix this problem the culture needs to be changed, and it is arguably one of the toughest things to do within an organisation, and requires buy in from everyone at the top through to the bottom. To change the flopping culture we would need to unlock the current attitudes and behaviours, and implement new attitudes and behaviours. This could involve:
- Looking at a way a charge is called. Unless a player ends up on the floor it isn’t called. At the end of the day, if players didn’t feel like they needed to fall to get a call, they will stop.
- Stop rewarding those that flop with the call. As it is now, flopping is merely playing the percentages. If the gamble was enough that the risk of giving up position under the basket allowing an easy basket was far greater, you wouldn’t see players giving up position to easily.
Current rules are insufficient. The threat of a warning is not intimidating. It has not affected or altered any on court behaviour. I don’t see much point in penalising those that flop by fining them or imposing ejections, or suspensions. The path to getting this back on track is to make the risk of allowing an easy uncontested basket greater than getting the charge call. This can be done, but the players and the refs need to be on board.
Another view of the Goulding Flop