The NBA is serious about ending flopping in the league. The league announced new fines it plans on levying for repeat floppers. The standards define flopping as: "any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player." That is not exactly a clear definition.
But what is clear is that the NBA will review suspected flopping plays after the game and assess a warning for the first offense, $5,000 for the second offense and then up to $30,000 for the fifth offense with fines or potential suspensions for subsequent offenses. It seems like a great way to fix a problem that many fans believe is a problem in the NBA.
One problem. That ill-defined standard was enacted without input from the NBPA. And after fighting tooth and nail last season for a collective bargaining agreement, they are not going to forget to enforce it when the time comes.
That time is now and the NBPA is expected to file a grievance and unfair labor practice against the league for implementing these new rules, according to Ken Berger of CBS Sports. Billy Hunter said the implementation of these fines is an unprecedent move by the NBA and is in violation of the collective bargaining agreement. The NBA, of course, is arguing that the implementation of the rules are consistent with the collective bargaining agreement.
And likely it will all get settled relatively easily.
Berger writes that the union is not necessarily opposed to implementing some provision penalizing floppers. What they are upset about is that the financial penalties were implemented without collective bargaining.
There are still a lot of challenges to implementing this flopping rule. There are still questions over who reviews what is a flop and refining the definition of flopping. It is also not clear whether referees will be instructed to change the way they officiate games in light of these new rules. And it is also not clear whether even the threat of these fines will be enough to keep players like Varejao from flopping to begin with.
The league is trying to create a culture change and that is never easy. As the NBA refines this policy, there will be plenty of bumps in the road to solve.
So here is the question: What will the new flopping penalties actually do to the NBA? Nobody knows.