#Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo acknowledged ref bump, but added he was joking with ref at time, and he laughed, not in anger in any way.— Scott Souza (@scott_souza) January 8, 2013
According to Rondo, he was joking to ref Rodney Mott about pal Josh Smith's flop when the two bumped.— Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) January 8, 2013
KG did not talk today but Rondo did: "I know Rodney, and I made a joke and he laughed and in the midst, I touched him." #celtics— gary washburn (@GwashNBAGlobe) January 8, 2013
I may be the biggest Rondo apologist, but I'm absolutely 100% on his side with this. People will get on his back for not playing nice with Stu Jackson and maybe I'd feel differently had the Celtics lost last night, but the league is really at fault here. Did they even talk to Rodney Mott? I'm guessing he can confirm RR's story. If they're just vindictively suspending him because he didn't cooperate with their investigation, that doesn't reveal an immaturity in Rondo; it shows the NBA's inability to think outside of the box when it comes to the letter of the law. Rondo is one of the league's bright young stars, but instead of exercising any critical thinking and considering the circumstances, the NBA decided to make an example out of him. In Rondo's words:
"Yeah, I feel like I'm a criminal. I go to court a lot, they say investigation -- what happened during the investigation?" Rondo joked. "I'm not on trial or anything, it's just how it is when you're dealing with the league when you get in a little bit of trouble. I'm a repeat offender. I don't know if I have two or three strikes, but it is what it is."
Rondo admitted he might have to "adapt" his behavior moving forward, as it seems evident the NBA has become less tolerant of some of his on-court conduct.
"Maybe. I may have to, but I'll adapt. I'll learn the game,"Rondo said. "But I'm an emotional player in that aspect. I think at that time I had a triple-double, we were up 10. I wasn't angry. I didn't go over and yell at Rodney. I think he even said that in his statement. But the league put the hammer down and made a decision."
Frankly, I'm happy Rondo wasn't penitent with the league office for something he didn't do because it reveals how much of a joke the league office has become under Stern. Haters will call for Rondo's head and hit the NBA Trade Machine to see what we can get for the league's best pure point guard, but he's really not at fault here. Maybe he martyred himself a little too much by eating his paycheck for one-game, but I'm with Tommy on this one. We'll see what Car
melowaitbytheteambus gets for his meltdown last night. If he isn't out for at least two games, I'll be surprised, but then again, the league hasn't been consistent on that either. They doled a two-game suspension to DeMarcus Cousins for confronting Sean Elliott after the Spurs TV analyst made some disparaging remarks about the Kings big man, but only fined Kendrick Perkins and Zach Randolph after their on court fight spilled into the tunnels of Chesapeake Energy Arena. Anthony is having an MVP season and is the toast of New York, so I'm betting the league leans more to the latter.
On a side note, the Celtics and Knicks go head-to-head again at the Garden on January 24th. I'd be disappointed if there wasn't a Honey Nut Cheerios giveaway that night, although Fruit Loops seem more appropriate.