Rudy Gobert meant it when he flashed money sign at ref


Renowned aggravator Rudy Gobert pissed off another group of people Friday night, and though getting T’d up isn’t newsworthy in itself, it’s what the Frenchman did to earn a technical that’s interesting. In the closing seconds of the Cleveland-Minnesota game with his team ahead by a point, the Timberwolves center was whistled for his sixth foul, and on his way off the floor, made the money signs to the referees that Johnny Maziel made famous.

Darius Garland cashed the freebie, and sent it to overtime where the T-Wolves were outscored, 16-7, for a 113-104 loss. It was the second game of a back-to-back for Gobert’s already short-staffed side, and afterward, he acknowledged his mistake, but said the gesture was genuine.

“My reaction, which I think is truth — it’s what I truly believe — even if it’s the truth, it wasn’t the time for me to react that way,” Gobert said afterward. “I should have not done that. I cost my team the game, and obviously, they couldn’t wait to give me a tech. That was bad. That was an immature reaction.”

Asked to clarify his stance, the 11-year center singled out the legalization of sports betting in the US.

“I’ll bite the bullet again,” Gobert said. “I’ll be the bad guy. I’ll take the fine, but I think it’s hurting our game. I know the betting and all that is becoming bigger and bigger, but it shouldn’t feel that way.

“I made some mistakes. I air-balled a dunk. Mistakes happen. Referees make mistakes, too. But sometimes I think it’s more than mistakes. I think everyone that’s in this league knows. I think it’s got to get better.”

Expect NBA commissioner Adam Silver to happily oblige him with a fine, because this is the same league that had to fire a referee for doing exactly what Gobert implied last night. Tim Donaghy, Tim Donaghy, Tim Donaghy. Sorry, just writing that three times fast to make sure it’s safe to mention his name.

It’s only a matter of time before another game-fixing scandal happens. Just this week, more details emerged about the team employee who embezzled $22 million from the Jacksonville Jaguars. While Amit Patel’s actions had no bearing on the integrity of games, his lawyer said that “99 percent” of the stolen funds were used to fuel his client’s gambling addiction.

There needs to be more oversight by sports franchises and college programs, because paper trails now exist due to the sports betting apps. Leagues and franchises should know if a team employee has hundreds of thousands, let alone millions, in gambling debt, and the same goes for the companies these leagues are in business with. I mean, good lord, Patel was gambling with the Jags’ COMPANY CREDIT CARD. That should’ve triggered some sort of flag.

I don’t want to further virtue signal, and I won’t, because I don’t have to. Since sportsbooks have become legal and more accessible across America, we’ve seen an increase in incredibly stupid behavior by coaches, players, and gambling addicts. There hasn’t been another Donaghy situation yet, though I should mention the former NBA ref admitted to a gambling problem during the subsequent court proceedings that led to his 15-month prison sentence.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Rudy Gobert is right. It shouldn’t feel like betting is hurting sports, but that feeling is increasing in frequency.

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