I've obviously struck a nerve here. Not surprising, I feel like this is one of the major schisms of the modern game. But let's at least drop the condescension, as if those of us to whom diving is like fingernails on a blackboard are rubes who lack a basic understanding of the sport.
Look UT, you have good points here as usual. Simply put: some level of embellishment is necessary to protect skilled players and enable positive and attractive soccer. If someone is fouling you, go down and get the call. This has been accepted (somewhat reluctantly by Canadian fans like myself) in soccer for a long time, and often rewarded by referees. Fine, results in more attractive soccer, we'll try and stomach it.
As with most things though it leads to an overreaction. Players push the envelope, trying to get opponents carded for zero or minimal contact. Smart, positional defenders, integral figures on good soccer teams, become victims of phantom calls. Neymar rolls all the way to the airport.
So, in the name of protecting attractive soccer we corrected one way by overlooking some embellishment. Now, in order to curb excessive (and especially malicious) embellishment we need to correct the other way: watch replays and suspend the worst offenders, the ones flopping to get perfectly good defensive plays seen as cardable offenses. Escalante is not one of the worst of these in the game but he walks that line and frequently crosses it. When he goes down easy after a foul, fine. When he dives with little-to-no contact, punish him.
Do I think Clanachan went too far with this ice hockey brand of soccer he pushed in year 1? Yes. Did I enjoy some of the physicality and hard tackling? Equally yes.
With a few corrections, ie call things tighter, protect your skilled players, and meanwhile punish blatant divers, a great balance can be struck.
I've watched a lot of Bayern Munich this year. You know what gets Bayern fans just as worked up as an electrifying Phonzie run? Him getting stuck in and physical and tackling tough. Likewise I've watched Ireland-Scotland games that were just as entertaining for their intensity and forcefulness as any match between the Spains and Brazils and Germanies of the world.
Do I want the goons of soccer allowed to ruin the exquisite exploits of world-class talents? Obviously no. But do I want the inveterate divers of soccer to ruin the exquisite exploits of world-class, rugged, physical defenders? Equally no.