Tommy was really fired up about Rondo's suspension last night. I agreed with him then and after reading more about it, I agree even more. This whole situation was ludicrous. The fact that Danny Ferry felt the need to hand the video to the refs, the fact that the contact was absolutely innocent and negligible, the fact that they waited until hours before the Celtics faced the Knicks to announce it all makes it seem so contrived and like a league vendetta.
Rondo gave his side of the situation today and it's entirely believable. Rondo explained that he knows Rodney Mott and that he was joking with him about Josh Smith flopping. I watched the video again and Rodney Mott does look like he has a smile on his face. Here is more from ESPNBoston
"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."
They should have called Mott and asked about the incident. When told that Rondo was just joking with him, that should have been the end of it. There should have been no need to call Rondo and make a big deal about it. But this more than anything shows that the league plays favorites and has it in for some teams and some players.
As I said yesterday, I have personally seen Kobe and LeBron grab refs to turn them around or stop them when complaining about a call. I go ballistic every time I see it so my family can attest to the fact that I've seen it. But nothing is ever done to them. Carmelo Anthony bumped a ref in last night's game. It wasn't malicious and so the ref didn't even take note of it. But then again, Rondo's bump wasn't malicious either and Mott didn't think twice about it. Of course, most GM's aren't snitches like Danny Ferry to run crying to the refs yelling about a player bumping into a ref, so there's that. But regardless, this should have been a non-issue.
And while I'm on the subject, the league had that tape for 2 days. They waited until just a couple hours before the Celtics were to play a big game in New York to announce the suspension. Does anyone else find that suspicious? Couldn't they have given the Celtics a bit more notice that they would be playing without their floor general? It sure looks like the league was doing their best to give the Knicks a bit of an edge in the game. I guess it wasn't enough to assign both Violet and Knick Vendetta to the game, they needed to give them an added boost as well.
This win was way more satisfying than just a regular season win, or a third win in a row, or even a statement win against New York. It was a win over David Stern and his minions. It was a win over league manipulation. Yes, Rondo will need to be more careful in games. But it's not because he would be doing anything wrong, but because David Stern and Stu Jackson have a vendetta against him and any misstep will be turned into an "investigation." It's not fair, but as KG would say, "It is what it is." And that's the real shame of it.
Thank you for writing this! The more I think about it, the madder I get. This ruling was so ludicrous and the investigation could not have been more suspect. Did the league ever talk to Rodney Mott? If they just made the decision based on Danny Ferry handing them video without context, then this league has less integrity than I thought.
You are welcome! I've been fuming myself. Rondo said he thought Mott backed up his story. So if they knew it was just Rondo making a joke and the ref backed it up, that makes it even worse. I don't blame Rondo for hanging up on them.