Flopping has been a major source of conversation during these playoffs. There have been multiple instances, so much to the point that the league has had to invoke a new ant-flopping policy. The purpose of the policy was designed to put an end to the flopping. It certainly hasn’t worked as we saw Heat forward Chris Bosh get fined $5,000 for violating the policy in Game 4 of the Finals against the San Antonio Spurs.
Mark Cuban has stepped up, as he usually does, and is willing to take a chance on trying to provide more information to help the cause. The Cuban-owned company Radical Hoops Ltd. awarded a grant of more than $100,000 to fund the 18-month research study at SMU, Dallas. “The physics just don’t support the way we call things,” Cuban said while speaking to KTCK-AM earlier this week.
“The issues of collisional forces, balance and control in these types of athletic settings are largely uninvestigated,” said SMU biomechanics expert Peter G. Weyand, who leads the research team. “There has been a lot of research into balance and falls in the elderly, but relatively little on active adults and athletes.”
While speaking to KTCK-AM, Cuban discussed this grant in a little more detail. “I can talk about it all I want, but it doesn’t mean that the league is going to do anything,” Cuban said. “I told the league that I was reaching out and I did some homework on who were some of the biomechanics in the country. It turns out that they’re at SMU. It took six months to formulate the whole thing. I told them I would fund the research to figure out the science of flopping.”
Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki commented on the issue of flopping last week. There is a definite science to flopping and Nowitzki sees the upside to it.
“We’re never going to get rid of it,” Nowitzki said recently, according to The Dallas Morning News. “But you got to limit it. It’s part of sports. It’s part of winning. Some people are smart and do a little extra thing to kind of sell the call. To me, that’s part of sports.”
There is a fine line as Nowitzki doesn’t want to see the “obvious ones” or the “really, really bad ones.” That’s the crux of the issue though. There is a fine line where it’s trying to get the competitive advantage in order to show that there was a form of wrong doing and showing that to the referee.
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle is a member of the NBA’s competition committee. When asked about flopping, he said he doesn’t see an increase in penalties for flopping happening anytime in the near future.
“The competition committee met this week and a lot of progress has been made this past year and in the playoffs with the rule decreasing the amount of flops and attempted flops,’’ Carlisle told reporters last week. “I believe we’re going to stay the course with the rule basically the way it is, and just continue to work to clean it up.
“And as time goes on, if it needs to be addressed again, it’ll be addressed again.’’
The policy certainly needs to be cleaned up. If you have the average league salary hover around $5.5 million, $5,000 is peanuts to them. You have to make the penalty be more severe in terms of a hit to the wallet. I think that is the more of a likely outcome that is realistic because I don’t see a quick fix in making penalties harsher in the moment and affecting the game.
Cuban certainly sees the value in trying to rectify this issue. “If we can learn anything about that, then I’ll take that and apply that to soccer,” Cuban continued. “It would be huge in soccer, even bigger than it would be in basketball. We’ll learn.”
Mark Cuban is a polarizing figure as a sports owner, but he has the game’s best interest in mind. This is just another example of it. Time will tell on whether or not Cuban’s efforts bear any fruit.
Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He also attended Ball So Hard University, studying ideologies of Clark Kent. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.