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Rudy Gobert implies NBA referees are influenced by gambling after making money sign at officials

Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert could have a hefty fine coming his way from the NBA league office. In the last 30 seconds in regulation of the Timberwolves’ 113-104 overtime loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday night, Gobert was called for his sixth foul. After trying to plead his case with the officials, he was assessed a technical foul for making the money gesture, suggesting the referees were fixing the game. At the time of Gobert’s technical, the Wolves were up 97-96 but ended up losing in overtime with him watching from the bench.

Gobert was upset after being called for a foul after trying to secure an offensive rebound against Jarrett Allen. It was his sixth personal foul, meaning he would have to sit the last 27.8 seconds left in the game anyway, but as Scott Foster was at the scorer’s table Gobert was walking around the court making a money gesture with both hands, which caught the attention of another official, Natalie Sago, who immediately T’d him up. Here’s how the situation unfolded:

After the game, Gobert suggested that gambling was an issue in the NBA and implied it influenced referees.

“I’ll bite the bullet again,” Gobert told reporters. “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.”

While Gobert also acknowledged that he shouldn’t have reacted the way he did after being assessed his sixth foul, he still didn’t shy away from still agreeing with the gesture he made that got him the technical.

“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.”

This isn’t the first time an NBA player has done the money gesture to suggest the referees were on the take. Luka Doncic did it in March 2023 in a loss to the Warriors when he thought the referees purposely didn’t call a foul. Most recently, Trae Young did it during the Hawks loss the Bulls a month ago. Young was given a $35,000 fine, and I imagine after the league officials review the video a similar fine could be coming Gobert’s way. 

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