First, a retraction of sorts: on Sunday, I bemoaned the league's suspension of Dirk Nowitzki for his swing at Matt Harpring's face in Friday's Jazz-Mavs match-up. Rules are rules, and the league had to sit Dirk for a game. It was silly to suggest that ruling had been wrong. (I will not, however, back down from my statement that Harpring is ugly. And also, the opinion at the bottom of this Jazz Notes post regarding Dirk's potential reputation as a dirty player for having the temerity to fight back against the extremely, eternally dirty Jazz is absurd and reeks of localist triumphalism.)
But since rules are indeed rules, what happened to the rules the league created last summer to discourage flopping? In May, ESPN reported that the NBA would create a fine schedule to impose on the most egregious actors in the league. Almost nothing has come from it -- not one fine announced this season, no release of the ground rules or discussion of the review procedure.
This all comes to mind because of Andrei Kirilenko's flagrant flop, shown in the clip posted Sunday. Even Vlade Divac, Manu Ginobili and Anderson Varejao rolled their eyes when they saw that fall. Clint Eastwood is jealous. (And mad, also. He hates wimpy maneuvers. And Russians, also.)
If ever a flop deserved punishment, it was this one. I understand the need to keep fists at bay, but I plea for the league to understand how discouraging modern flopping is to the sport. I daresay that without the flop, Dirk's fist doesn't come out to play.