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Timberwolves coach Chris Finch calls out NBA over disparity in fines for Rudy Gobert, Jamal Murray

Rudy Gobert has developed a bit of a history when it comes to criticizing officiating. In March, he was fined $100,000 for making the money gesture towards official Scott Foster during a game. Afterward, he implied that the proliferation of sports betting was impacting officiating. “I’ll bite the bullet again,” he said, per ESPN. “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.”

On Tuesday, Gobert was issued yet another fine for making that same gesture. This time, it was for $75,000, and Minnesota Timberwolves coach Chris Finch wasn’t happy about it. That had less to do with what Gobert did and more to do with what he seemingly deemed uneven punishment. Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray was fined $100,000 after Game 2 for throwing a towel and a heating pad onto the court. Murray also made the same money gesture as Gobert in that lopsided Nuggets loss, though that was not cited in the NBA’s announcement about his fine.

Finch, asked about Gobert’s fine ahead of Tuesday’s Game 5, asked for an “itemized receipt” of Murray’s fine in response to Gobert’s.

“If it’s $75,000 for the gesture, then it must be $10,000 for the towel and $15,000 for the heating pad,” Finch grumbled.

There were plenty of fans and critics that called for Murray to be suspended for what he did in Game 2. An inappropriate gesture towards an official is one thing, but Murray throwing things onto the court was legitimately dangerous. Had someone unknowingly stepped onto the heating pad during play, they could have been injured. Yet Murray’s fine during this series was only slightly larger than Gobert’s and the same as the fine he incurred during the regular season.

But Gobert’s status as a repeat offender factored into the ruling. “The fine takes into account Gobert’s history of improper conduct towards game officials,” the press release stated

Even if such a gesture has less of a material impact on what happens on the floor, it is something the league has to be sensitive about given the newfound importance gambling has taken on in the NBA landscape. The integrity of the game, especially in light of Jontay Porter’s lifetime ban, is a hot topic right now, and the league is not going to take suggestions of impropriety lightly.

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