On a record setting 31st Olympic appearance for Spain, Juan Carlos Navarro was ejected in the win against Argentina for flopping.
The ejection, carried out by Canadian referee Stephen Seibel was met by utter disbelief from Navarro and indeed the entire Spanish roster as the Barcelona veteran and the EuroLeague’s all-time leading scorer was called for two technicals within a span of 30 seconds.
And this is not the first time that the conversation of Navarro’s theatre-like actions have been noticed. He was given a technical foul for flopping against CSKA Moscow in a EuroLeague game in January of this year and in one way or another has been a focus of the subject.
2012-13 EuroLeague quarter-final game vs. Panathinaikos
Rudy Fernandez frustrated by Navarro’s actions at the EuroLeague Final Four, 2013
Canadian referee, Seibel, considered one of the most active FIBA officials with 17 years of experience under his belt did not fall for Navarro’s dramatics and ejected him from the contest with Spain still leading 63-46 in the third quarter.
Some will feel that this was deserved, some will say that he was merely trying to fight around a screen but Navarro’s record-setting 31st Olympic game, surpassing this year’s FIBA Hall-of-Famer inductee, Juan Antonio San Epifanio will be remembered for letting his play-acting reputation get the better of him.
“I’ve never been thrown out in 30 seconds before,” Navarro said. “I’ve been ejected once or twice before but at first I really didn’t say anything and he called a technical that I think was more of a make-up call for having done the same thing to them earlier.”
Andres Nocioni of Argentina had been hit with a technical by the ruthless officials just four minutes into the third as the game never got into a suitable rhythm due to constant whistles from the three referees. Some of the calls were justified but some, incredibly petty.
“And then,” Navarro added, “I was warned for flopping in the first quarter and I’d tried to go through a pick against a guy that is 50 kilos heavier than me and I fell. It was very weird.”
But in the end, the decision didn’t hinder the final result – which sent Spain through to the quarter-finals – where they will meet bitter rivals France in a rematch of their epic London 2012 last eight encounter.
But this year, the subject of flopping has come into the Olympic arena, and it was inevitable that Juan Carlos Navarro was placed in the centre of it.