I get your point but you have to admit the NFL is also kind of messing up its consistency by overbearing on some players that obviously show no malicious intent on one play, but because the rules are sketchy, you technically have to fine them, especially in plays where no flags are tossed in my opinion.
The NBA isn't so much as soft, more like all the major names now flop so it makes it seem more acceptable, where back in the 80's when bully ball was predominant, if you played flimsy, you'd get punished in the court, nowadays get in anyone's face over flopping and you get T'd up, rules change for the worse sometimes.
It's a tug-of-war. The rules have to be refined to ensure the integrity of the game while at the same time protecting the players...from themselves. At game-time speed, a ref may throw a personal foul flag on what looks like helmet to helmet contact but is in fact something else...something legal. Some of this is all because of the concussions but these are 250+ lbs men banging into each other at good speeds...there's no escaping the physicality and injuries. A lot of players have said they'd rather take a shot up top than to have their knees blown out.
A wide receiver can't just "pull a Lebron" and run into a cornerback and fall down...that's an interception waiting to happen. After 5 yards, corners have to allow the receivers to run their routes; in the NBA, you can barely play full press without getting called for pitty pat fouls.