PlayBook: Don't Feed The Sports Writers

By Fraser Lockerbie

The NBA is instituting absurd and ineffective penalties for floppers plus our Week Five NFL picks.

The overt stupidity of the NBA was a topic I thought I had exhausted a long time ago, but it seems Commissioner Stern is bound and determined to keep the columnists fed, fat-dripping and drooling over whatever toxic spew trickles down from the league office to fester on the floor of the NBA.

This week we’ll feed on “flopping,” a terminal if not crippling illness supposedly infecting the brain stem and spinal columns of otherwise high-functioning adults and allegedly imported into the NBA by a diseased rabble of soccer-watching Europeans. It seems flopping, the act of exaggerating injury or force to draw a foul, has grown wild and rampant, unfettered by the leagues’ ‘high ideals’ of literal gun-toting sportsmanship and fair play or by a sense of decency on the part of the players.

“But not anymore,” says Stu Jackson, the NBA’s esteemed Vice President of Tom Foolery and Technical Fouls, sounding eerily, in both inflection and tone, like Big Dave Stern: “Flops have no place in our game - they either fool referees into calling undeserved fouls or fool fans into thinking the referees missed a foul call.”

Well geez, thanks for the vote of confidence, Stu. Did you hear what Stu just said? Stu thinks you’re stupid and worse, he thinks the league hired-and-paid refs are too. In fact, Stu is so confident in our stupidity that he’s going take it upstairs and put it in the hands of significantly smarter people, basketball people, people he trusts who won’t be confused by the complexities of our game…

Stu says flopping is “any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player,” a definition, while well-intentioned, that is so vague and unilateral that it would seem to encompass and account for 95 percent of all contested hard drives to the basket. Players will first be warned and then fined, in increasing increments of $5,000, for every following flop-like infraction. The fines max out at 6 or $30,000 at which time the player will likely be suspended.

And sure as rain and death and taxes, all flopping will cease. Surely, these millionaires will be deterred by the penny-pinching tactics of a s(S)tern Oligarchy. And it’s highly unlikely that any public displays of dissension will arise to make mountains out of molehills; after-the-fact sanctions being doled out to immature and premature prima donnas by invisible voices in the video room. No, that should sit well, that shouldn’t draw any more attention to a problem that’s barely a problem.

And it sure is a hands-on, practical approach to the situation: suspended sentences that in no way restrict or limit the physical action of flopping on the floor. Teams in critical game situations, say a Game 7 with seconds to play separated by a single point, surely won’t risk a couple thousand dollars to win an NBA title. How would they sleep at night, nestled up nice and tight to their Championship ring?

Not well I’d imagine. But thank God we’ve got the smart folks at NBA to sort all this out for us simple people; believe me, we’re all just barely following along. 

This Week’s Lines: 

Atlanta (-3) over Washington

What makes Vegas think a defense that currently ranks 31st against the pass can get by on three points against a team that projects as the number one rated pass attack in the league?

San Diego (+3.5) over New Orleans

Remember when the Chargers let Drew Brees walk in what was at once a mistake and a huge vote of confidence in Philip Rivers? He’ll want to prove them right, albeit 7 years later.

Chicago (-4.5) over Jacksonville

This could get a lot higher…

Houston (-8) over New York

The good news for the Jets is that the mutiny can start early this year and maybe the New York sporting press can get all the badgering out of their system early so we don’t have to hear about it for a another full offseason. 

Green Bay (-7) over Indianapolis

Green Bay currently sits in the top five for sacks and leads the leagues in assists meaning more than one guy is getting through O-line to the playmaker. Given Indianapolis’ O-line we wouldn’t be surprised to see Aaron Rodgers inexplicably in there but it spells bad news for Indy. 

San Francisco (-9.5) over Buffalo

San Fran is a team that likes to sit back and let teams beat themselves. Buffalo is certainly inclined to do that. 

Seattle (+3) over Carolina

I’m not really sold on Seattle as a team but Carolina’s offensive isn’t lateral enough to take on the ‘Hawks; throwing the hopelessly downfield usually works in Seattle’s favor.

Cincinnati (-3) over Miami

Here’s to not buying that this is the real Reggie Bush.

Quick Slants:

Baltimore (-6) over Kansas City, Minnesota (-5.5) over Tennessee, Denver (+6.5) over New England, Philadelphia (+3.5) over Pittsburgh, Cleveland (+8.5) over New York.

Last Week: 7-6

Overall: 42-28-2

Catch up on Past PlayBook’s Here.


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