I’m no fan of professional sports; yes, I’ll watch the occasional football game with a group of friends, but I find the whole concept kind of ridiculous. I’m sure you’re probably thinking that I hate sports because I’m a cave-dwelling nerd. Well, I am, but that’s not why I hate sports. I actually enjoy playing a variety of sports, and have for most of my life. I’m very competitive and I enjoy physical activity where I have fun with friends. I just don’t like professional sports. I just can’t wrap my mind around the attraction of watching a bunch of grown-ass men being paid millions of dollars to run around on a field in tight pants, toss a leather ball around, slap each other on the ass, and otherwise perform like trained monkeys for the tens of thousands of screaming fans who paid $200 to sit in the sun on a hard bleacher and drink $12 Coors Light out of a plastic cup. But it’s an American tradition, so whatever.
I was listening to This American Life this evening and they had a segment about “flopping“, which is a phenomenon in basketball that has risen to prominence over the last two decades. Apparently, the phenomenon occurs when players throw themselves to the ground and pretend that they were fouled. The hope is that the referee will believe the act and award them penalty shots or some other compensation for the alleged offense. This practice is also widespread in soccer, though it’s called “diving” in that sport. This is sad, but what I found really dismaying is that apparently this is increasingly commonplace, and some of the best players in both sports are known for doing this on a regular basis.
Let’s be clear: this is cheating, pure and simple. I think the only thing sadder than grown men running around in their tight pants and playing a game for millions of dollars is that they apparently are so childish that they are willing to cheat to win at said game. Let’s stop and think about that: you’re a grown man, a celebrity, probably college-educated, probably married and with children of your own, making millions of dollars for playing a game, and you feel the need to throw yourself on the ground like a little girl and fake that someone fouled you. Repeatedly.
Your parents must be so proud.