“Now we can make the game about basketball talent, not acting talent” – NBA Commissioner David Stern (on the new anti-flopping rules)
Flopping – acting like you’ve been fouled (usually giving the impression of physical harm) in order to induce an official to call a violation on the opposing team. Flopping is rampant in soccer, where players will fall down, writhe around in unbearable pain hoping to get a penalty against the other team, and then make a miraculous recovery only moments later. You can youtube “football dives” and get all sorts of great videos … here’s an example (the best is the double-head-butt dive around 1:43)
Now, we love to sit back and snipe about how soccer players are wimps, but their approach has merit. The goal is to win the game, not to play with integrity. It is the job of the official to enforce integrity and fairness. When the officials fail miserably in their attempt to enforce the rules of the game without being duped by non-fouls, the players will naturally, rightly, and logically respond by flopping.
Basketball fans know the same to be true in the NBA, where flopping isn’t nearly as bad as soccer, but it is an increasingly prevalent part of the game. The NBA has responded with anti-flopping rules. Flops won’t be called on the spot as technical fouls, which would put a onerous burden on the officials. Instead there will be video reviews to determine if/when players have flopped, and escalloping fines will be handed out. We’ll see if it works, but it’s a good start.
(Side note: college basketball fans will also recognize the rather impressive extent of “flopping” to draw a charge on the part of Duke University players. Here again we say that if the officials are going to allow this nonsense, then the Duke players are doing exactly the right thing by flopping. The goal is to win.)
It seems that flopping has sprung up beyond the sporting world. Things are heating up in the middle east these days. The latest hot-spot is an escalating conflict in the Gaza strip, where Hamas militants are raining rockets down on Israeli population centers, and the Israel Defense Force (IDF) has responded by taking out terrorist targets (included terrorist leaders) in Gaza. In the aftermath of one Israeli strike, news cameras caught this footage of an injured man being carried away … and then later walking around unharmed.
Now that’s embarrassing, on so many levels. First there’s the guy in the beige jacket. It’s at least mildly embarrassing to get caught in such a flop – but I also doubt he really much cares. It has to be a bit embarrassing for all the Palestinians, quite frankly. I mean, this guy lies down on the ground, and a group of young men wait for the cameras and the scoop him up without a thought. Hey, did anyone even lean over him to find out what was wrong? Did anyone check to see what his injuries were and if it was even safe to move him? Nope. Perhaps they knew?
It’s embarrassing for CNN and the BBC. Were there no editors available? Did anyone think to check the video to see if the injury was an acting job? Now here’s Anderson Cooper lamenting that Israeli attacks are sending neighborhoods up in flames and injuring civilians … only to show the world civilians faking injuries. I’m sure there were real injuries out there to report.
Much like soccer and basketball flops, the shame extends a bit further here. The only reason that professional athletes fake injuries is because the refs allow it and even reward it. If there were no benefit to it they would stop in a heartbeat. These guys want to win, and that’s it. The shame then falls on the officials who reward such behavior.
In the same way, the only reason Palestinians fake injuries is because there is strategic benefit to it. Anti-Israeli sentiment runs high amongst the liberal ideologues in Europe, America, and the United Nations. They are ready and willing to believe any story of harm caused by the oppressive Zionists, and are similarly ready and willing to dismiss any harm caused by the Hamas terrorists. (“Well, they wouldn’t be lashing out like this if they weren’t oppressed by those Zionists.”) The point is that international pressure builds on Israel to not defend itself when the liberal intelligentsia gets snowed by fake injury stories (which they gladly embrace). The best means of defense for the Palestinians is for some external force to hold Israel back. So they flop. They fake injuries. They play up every potential example of harm caused by Israel defending itself in the hopes that someone will step in to help them.
Now I know what you’re thinking. “Couldn’t the Palestinians put an end to Israeli strikes if they just stopped launching rockets into Israel?” Yes, yes they could. It’s a head-scratcher, that’s for sure. Apparently peace isn’t really all that desirable.