New York Knicks forward Julius Randle apologized for his fiery outburst and post-game comments from Thursday’s home game against the Boston Celtics. The Kentucky product gave fans a thumbs down gesture during the fourth quarter, and after the game he said he intended it to mean “shut the f— up.”
The drama began in the fourth quarter, when Randle converted a layup and, as he was running back down the court, pointed his thumbs down toward the Madison Square Garden crowd. Randle was booed in the first half of the game, an eventual 108-105 comeback win over the Celtics.
Randle then confirmed that the gesture was a response to being booed, according to ESPN, saying “You saw that. You saw what was going on out there.”
On Friday, Randle issued an apology to Knicks fans on Instagram. He said his actions represent more than himself and that he should’ve behaved “with more professionalism.”
“I should’ve handled things last night differently and expressed myself with more professionalism and more appropriate language in the heat of the moment,” Randle wrote. “My comment was an example of how sometimes you say things you regret to people you love, even if it came from a place of passion and deep love.
“Nobody wants to win more than me and I will continue to show loyalty and dedication to my teammates, the entire Knicks organization, and the fans who have shown me and my family so much love,” Randle continued. “I am going to keep focusing on the future.”
Unfortunately for Randle, his apology wasn’t enough for the NBA as the league announced on Saturday afternoon that the Knicks forward had been fined $25,000 for “the egregious use of profane language during media interviews.”
Randle isn’t the first New York athlete is hit the fanbase with a thumbs down. Last summer, former New York Mets shortstop Javier Baez gave the Citi Field crowd a thumbs down while he rounded the bases following a home run. Baez said that it was a response to the way Mets fans had treated him and his teammates during the 2021 campaign.
The fanbase ultimately went home happy on Thursday, as the Knicks were able to erase a 25-point deficit against the Celtics. Boston star Jayson Tatum connected on a game-tying jumper with 1.5 seconds remaining in regulation. Knicks forward RJ Barrett then banked in an insane three at the buzzer to lift New York to victory.
The criticism of Randle has potentially come due to the fact that his numbers have dipped this season. Last season, Randle shot 41.1 percent from three, but is shooting just 32.4 percent from beyond the arc so far this season.