The rap on World Cup flopping from Chief Keef
BY RICK TELANDER Sports Columnist June 14, 2014 1:42AM
Brazil’s Fred falls after making contact with Croatia’s Dejan Lovren in the World Cup opener Thursday. Brazil was awarded a penalty kick. | AP
Updated: July 16, 2014 6:27AM
My man, rapper Chief Keef, just got evicted from his Highland Park home — Yo-ho/you gotta pay rent/dough, bro — but I was thinking about his first big hit, ‘‘I Don’t Like.’’
It’s an awesome tune, provided you don’t mind the profanity and the video with Chief and his posse, all shirtless, pants around their thighs, blowing dope so hard you get YouTube wasted, pointing a Tec-9 with clip at the camera.
Chief rants about what he don’t like. I don’t mind because there’s something I don’t like: flopping.
When I watched the first World Cup game — Brazil vs. Croatia — on TV on Thursday, Chief and his work came instantly to mind. With my words fitted in:
A flop player is da [bleep] I don’t like/I jus’ wanna see ’em get whacked all night.
I mean, what is the deal with all this flopping?
You know what I’m talking about. Soccer players, the best in the world, get slid into, tripped or kicked, and they go down on the pitch, clutching their leg or their head or the sod, writhing as though internal organs have been ripped apart, grimacing so horribly that you feel the only decent thing to do would be for a horse ambulance to come out, roll out the screen to protect the public, then have surgeons fire discreet bullets into the player’s head to put him out of his misery.
But you know what actually happens. The horribly wounded player is lifted to his feet or miraculously climbs off the stretcher he has been placed upon, limps about for a spell, then is . . . fine!
For Brazil, the dude doing the fake thing so egregiously and comically and convincingly for Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura was a forward named — I couldn’t make this up — Fred. That’s all. Just Fred.
Nishimura called a penalty in the 69th minute of a 1-1 game for the alleged vicious fouling of Fred, who barely was touched but threw his arms in the air and flailed so wondrously that it seemed he had been electrocuted by invisible wires.
Brazil made the ensuing penalty kick, Croatia became understandably desperate, which led to another home-team goal, and Brazil won 3-1.
In a fair world, ‘‘victim’’ Fred would have been penalized and forced to shine Croatia’s shoes for the rest of the tournament.
OK, so flopping works in this foreign game. That, I guess, is why players take dives. But it’s a European or South American or Asian or African affectation. And it’s pitiful.
Here’s the deal: We don’t flop in this country. We come from the hardy stock of pilgrims and pioneers and cowboys and mobsters. In baseball or football, the opposite of flopping is what we do. You get hit by a
90 mph fastball and glare at the pitcher, but then you trot to first base and never touch the damaged area.
In football, only a little fancy boy would flop. A fop would flop. Then again, a fop wouldn’t be playing football in the first place. Football is played by warriors. Like
Jack Youngblood, who once played a Super Bowl with a broken leg.
Same with hockey. The Boston Bruins’ Gregory Campbell had his leg broken while blocking a shot in the playoffs last season and still finished his shift.
Lord, a World Cup soccer player might have clawed his way to the center of the earth with such an injury. A Brazilian one, anyway.
But now flopping has infected the NBA. Guys such as Vlade Divac came to our country and started going down as though poleaxed. Now Dwyane Wade does the whiplash thing, as though he’s a crash-test dummy. So the NBA fines these frauds, as it should. But not enough.
A ref knows when a player is taking a dive. And a ref ought to toss a player from the game — in any sport — for faking an injury or acting as though he was hit harder than he really was.
Make all these soccer wimps watch a video of the Blackhawks’ Duncan Keith taking a puck to the mouth, losing all or parts of seven teeth, getting the nubs removed in the locker room and the whole mess stitched and shot up, then returning to the ice while missing one shift!
And make the soccer refs buck up and not look as though they’ve been paid off by bookies or baked in the home oven.
As veteran writer Richard Farley of ProSoccerTalk put it after the Brazil-Croatia mess: ‘‘Do we want to leave [flopping] as part of the game? If so, let’s stop talking about controversial calls and teams being wronged.
‘‘If, however, people don’t want more calls like today’s, Fred needs a disincentive. There needs to be a bigger crackdown on simulation. . . . The game has to start taking the issue seriously.’’
How about it, soccer world?
Or do you like being a joke?