You see it constantly in soccer. You see it occasionally by its twin sister “Flopping” in basketball (and, yeah, I guess soccer too). You see it never in baseball, but if you did, I’m sure A-Rod would be its main proponent. And, you’re seeing it more and more in football, which is a puke-inducing disgrace.
The point of faking an injury or flopping in other sports is used to draw a foul from the refs, primarily, and I suppose to slow the game down, secondarily. Drawing a foul is a great way to give your team possession of the ball and maybe even a couple extra points or goals or whatever. It’s a loathesome waste of time and the fans hate it, but it’s here to stay, so we have kinda sorta gotten used to it.
In football, it’s another matter entirely. There, you fake an injury on defense in order to slow the pace of the offense. Maybe give the defense a chance to catch its breath or allow substitutions for tired players who are getting the ball shoved down their throats. Essentially, it’s cheating. It’s gaming the system to gain an edge. Your players can’t handle what the offense is dishing out, so you sit on the ground complaining of an injury, and the team’s only penalty is to lose that player for one play.
I suppose referees could call “unsportsmanlike conduct” in a situation like this, but really how are you going to prove it? It’s not like you can hold out until you’re seeing bone. Sometimes, a guy twists his ankle wrong or whatever and needs to leave the field. It happens. Of course, it’s when that same player comes right back out one play later looking fresh as a daisy that has everyone so heated.
The canny thing about it is, teams will use some of their best players on defense in this tactic. Have your all pro or your 5-star recruit fall to the ground in agony. Then, when teams accuse you of faking an injury, you can say, “Now, why would we do that and lose our best player?” And, if that player himself responds to criticism, he’ll always boast about his manhood while saying, “I would never do something like that,” as if we really believe a player is going to defy one of his coaches who control his playing time. Really? If your position coach tells you to sit down, you’re not going to sit down? Please.
Teams aren’t going to sub in some scrub for one play to be a Designated Injured Guy! If you want to slow down the offense and give your defense time to substitute, you’re going to have to lose someone at least somewhat important! That’s just the way it is. So, that excuse rings totally hollow.
Teams can deny this tact until the cows come home, but it’s like performance enhancing drugs: stop worrying about who you THINK is doing it and come to the realization that EVERYONE is doing it. Once we get to that point, we can all stop being so defensive (!) about it when it happens to us.
Frankly, there are a lot of Husky fans out there pretty pissed off at Stanford for their faking injuries. I don’t remember much from that game, as I was brownout drunk and contending with asshole Stanford fans all around me. But, I remember booing until my throat bled whenever we perceived Stanford was trying to stall. I don’t know if they were truly injured or not, but I do know this: every Husky fan who has ever attended a game in Oregon has come away offended by (among many other things, because Oregon fans are the worst) the home crowd booing one of our boys because they thought that one of our perfect little angels was faking an injury.
GASP! Oh lordy me! Someone catch me, for I feel a dizzy spell comin’ on!
You want this to stop? I have the perfect solution: ban the injured player from returning until the next drive. If you’re really injured, then you’re probably not going back into the game anytime soon anyway. And, if you’re not injured, then you just wasted one of your starters to slow the other team down for a minute or two. Or, if you’re just a little injured, you’ll make sure to hop off the field as fast as you can, if you have any intention of returning to the game in that drive.
I mean, seriously, one play? You’re just inviting this kind of bullshit to continue! Make the rule change and it all goes away. No one will boo someone on the ground anymore (which is really a despicable act when the player actually IS injured), offenses will run unimpeded through Swiss cheese defenses, and all will be right with the world.