True. Of course, I don't think its the actual individual pay of players, but the overall average salary as a whole. Role players take flops in big games because it can change the game by giving injury time or a corner kick. The big name players with big salaries flop too, but I think that its the smaller fish who do the majority of flopping, though as you've said, more so in the bigger leagues.
That is why I particularly enjoy Mexican League soccer because there is such a sense of pride and machismo, that Mexican footballers not only do NOT flop, Lord have His mercy, they don't even acknowledge serious injuries! I've seen dudes get serious laid out and jump back up in a hot second as if a beautiful woman had just knocked them down and not a freight train of a driving play at the goal
I agree. The truly great have no need for it, and make every effort to avoid falling down (and to actually play the sport). That said, there are a lot of big name superstars out there, cough, C. Ronaldo, cough, S. Gerrard, who have developed pretty bad reputations in this regard.
That's why I really came to appreciate Germany's team in the last World Cup. They rarely fell down, screaming and moaning, but kept attacking and playing. They couldn't pull it out in the end, but it was a delightful team to watch.
Perhaps the machismo isn't as prominent a factor in lower league English matches, but there still must be a bit. Either that or the refs just have less interest in awarding bogus free kicks to see Bend-it-Like-Beckham set pieces. But at some of these smaller grounds, it's a bit more intimate. Even Highbury v Emirates is a huge transition. If people think you're a diver, you'll hear about it up close and personal.
I'm with you though. Even if the quality is a bit less, I appreciate the matches where they play the game the way it was supposed to be played.