Rondo awaits fate after talk with league
November, 29, 2012
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
WALTHAM, Mass. -- Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo talked with the league an hour before the team's afternoon practice on Thursday and was awaiting word on his fate after his part in Wednesday's flare-up during a loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
Rondo took exception to a foul by Brooklyn's Kris Humphries on teammate Kevin Garnett and pushed Humphries in the chest, the two ultimately getting tangled and spilling into the stands. Rondo, already suspended twice in the past nine months for run-ins with officials, is expected to be punished by the league for instigating the scuffle.
"I told them the truth," Rondo said of his conversation with league officials on Thursday. "I don't know what's going to happen. They haven't made a decision yet, so I'm just waiting to hear back from the league. I went through practice today hoping I'll play tomorrow, but you never know."
What does his gut tell him?
"You never know, you just never know," said Rondo. "It's out of my control. Whatever the consequences are, that's what they are. I don't think I did anything dirty. I didn't try to start a riot. I don't think it was more than a pushing war. That's about it."
Asked if he regretted his actions, Rondo was unapologetic, believing Humphries foul required a response. Rondo and Garnett share a tight bond and Rondo believes he was sticking up for his friend.
"I know I have to be out there for my teammates," said Rondo. "That's the only thing about it. But I was sticking up for my teammates. I didn't try to start a fight. I'm not trying to be a bully. I just didn't think the play was fair that he made on Kevin, that's all."
Celtics coach Doc Rivers did not believe Rondo's actions deserved a suspension.
"I don't think so, honestly," said Rivers. "The only thing would be is they went in the stands, which you never want. But there were no punches thrown or anything. And, really, when you see it, I thought Rondo was trying to get him away and then he kind of pulled Rondo into him and that's when everything started. So, I don't really believe he went in there trying to fight. I don't think anyone did. It just escalated and that's what happened. I thought the game, at least on one end, was physical. And you can hear some of our guys complain about the cheap shots and stuff like that, and it really never got cleaned up, and then it led to that."
Rondo called the foul by Humphries "malicious," and explained why he reacted the way he did.
"Well I thought the play on Kevin was a malicious play, you know?" said Rondo. "I got hurt last year on a similar play like that -- a guy going up in the air, defenseless, on his way down. And you know, I just, I pushed Humphries. And after that, it was a pushing war."
Rondo said he plays with an edge that simply might not be the standard in this age of basketball.
"This game is a contact sport, it's an emotional game," said Rondo. "I play with an edge every night. I think that's what separates me from a lot of guys. So, I'm not going to let that take me away from my game. I didn't do anything dirty. This is a new day and era, the style of how we play the game. Back in the day, the ball would have been checked up, some free throws would have been made and we would have kept going. But, it's a new era, and we've got different rules now."
Rivers reaffirmed that he wants Rondo to be able to control himself during what he often refers to as "emotional hijacks."
"The one Rondo understands is he can't allow himself to be taken out of the game," said Rivers. "And he did last night. Now, again, I don't think he had any intentions when it started. I don't think he went in there thinking, 'We're going to get in a fight.' I'm just going to stand up for my guy and got his legs up under him. Unfortunately the other guy reacted. Rondo reacted back. And then, now you're out. Again, it's snap, it's quick, and it could happen to any of us, and it has happened to me."