NBA fines Rudy Gobert $100,000 for comments insinuating sports betting influences referees

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Cleveland Cavaliers

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Cleveland Cavaliers

“I’ll bite the bullet again. I’ll be the bad guy again that speaks what I think is the truth… I know the betting and all that is becoming bigger and bigger — but it shouldn’t feel that way.”

That was Timberwolves big man Rudy Gobert, not long after making a money gesture with his hands to the referees after fouling out late in regulation against the Cavaliers, and the combination of those always meant the league was going to come down hard on Gobert. This wasn’t going to be the standard $25K fine for criticizing the referees.

It was four times that — the NBA announced a $100,000 fine for Gobert “for directing an inappropriate and unprofessional gesture toward a game official, and publicly criticizing the officiating… The fine takes into account Gobert’s past instances of conduct detrimental to the NBA with regard to publicly criticizing the officiating.”

Gobert got off lucky not getting a suspension. While this is a steep fine by the NBA standards, Gobert is making $41 million this season.

Gobert has a long history of feeling persecuted by referees and alleging corruption (as Tom Haberstroh detailed at The Finder). That history added to his fine.

This particular foul helped cost his team the game. The Timberwolves were up one inside :30 seconds to go in the game when Gobert was whistled for the foul, but the money gesture led to an automatic technical foul. Cleveland’s Danilo Gallinari knocked down the technical free throw to tie the game 97-97, neither team scored the rest of the way, it went to overtime where Cleveland pulled away for the win.