Monday, April 30th, 2012 at 9:00 am  |  85 responses

Rajon Rondo Suspended One Game for Bumping Referee (Updated)

by Marcel Mutoni @marcel_mutoni

The NBA’s rulebook leaves very little room for ambiguity on this type of thing. When a player or coach makes “intentional” contact with a referee, they are more than likely to be suspended:

“Any player or coach guilty of intentional physical contact with an official shall automatically be suspended without pay for one game. A fine and/or longer period of suspension will result if circumstances so dictate.”

Rajon Rondo, who was enraged with a referee’s call late in the Boston Celtics’ Game 1 loss to the Atlanta Hawks last night, earned himself an ejection after making contact with referee Marc Davis.

According to Rondo, his chest-bump of the ref wasn’t a purposefully angry response to a call. Rajon, who was suspended earlier this season for whipping the ball at a ref, can only hope the League buys his explanation. Per WEEI:

“Obviously I was upset about the call,” Rondo said. “I said some words to Marc. I deserved the first tech. As I was walking, I thought he stopped. My momentum carried me into him. I even think I tripped on his foot. I didn’t intentionally chest-bump him. But that’s what it appears to be.”

“They all thought I was obviously in the wrong,” Rondo said. “It may seem like I bumped him, but like I said, I didn’t intentionally chest-bump him. I know the rules. Like I said, my momentum carried me into him. I thought he stopped.”

The NBA will make its decision on what further punishment Rajon Rondo deserves — if any — soon enough.

UPDATE: It’s official — Rondo will miss Tuesday night’s Game 2.

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  • Myung

    I agree that the momentum and the trip carried Rondo close to the Davis. Had that been the only contact, I (even as a Hawks fan) would say “Let him play.” But the chest bump came at the very end of it. We all saw Rondo stick his chest out. Momentum doesn’t cause you to stick your chest out at someone. It’s not even a question. Rondo threw a ball at a ref earlier this year so this isn’t new. He got angry, and in the heat of the moment, he did something he shouldn’t have done. I’m sure he regrets it, but c’mon, don’t try to say you didn’t mean to chest bump dude. If you say you know the rules, you should know better. All that being said (and even though I predicted Hawks in 5 in the Hawks-Celtics preview), even without Rondo, this Celtics team is not a team you want to come out flat against. They’re too mentally tough to just roll over and die. This is absolutely no time for the Hawks to get complacent (like we did against Miami earlier this year when they played us without Bron and Wade). Got to come out with the same in Game 2 that we came out with last night.

  • tomtom

    Shouldn’t get a susp. he clearly stands on the refs foot and that affects his balance.

  • Coconut

    He did step on the ref’s foot… But it looks like he pushed out his chest too. Don’t know about this one.

  • Chris

    Controversial decision, Rondo should be fined and not suspended. Sure, there is no excuse for being up in the referee’s face, even after the first technical foul, but the video clearly shows him stepping on the referees foot (non-intentionally) before the chest bump. When he bumps the referee, some would say its intentional and some would not. But honestly, if Rondo was off balance from stepping on the referees foot, if he had put his hands on the referee’s back to regain balance, he would have been given a technical foul anyway.
    For the sake of ruining the series or not, he deserves a fine and nothing more.

  • http://slamonline.com Jones

    Don’t blame Rondo for getting upset. Davis #8 was the Hawks’ MVP of that game and was just killing the Celtics all night long.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Henkenzo

    I don’t care. He brought himself in this position. He yelled at the refs and i think even if he didnt bump the refs he still got tossed and suspended. He yelled, he got his first tech and than yelled some more. IMHO

  • Heals

    That’s a “chest bump,” wow. Letter of law gets him a game, common sense has him starting next game. 5 games Myung? oaky we’ll see…

  • Brent

    I hate to believe Rondo , but that was a very believable explanation. I really think it was an accident.

  • AsadSaleh3

    Yelling doesn’t get you a suspension. The chest bump was deliberate even after he tripped. You can clearly see Rondo stick his chest out.

  • Myung

    So now Celtics fans are going to blame the refs for giving the Hawks the win? Wasn’t Boston supposed to roll over Atlanta? Weren’t people already assuming Boston was going to face Miami in the ECF once Rose went down Saturday? Wasn’t Boston good enough to beat us anywhere, any time, which is why on April 20th, with homecourt in Round 1 at stake, Boston chose to give us the game? Yes, we got a few favorable calls last night, but that’s what happens when you’re the HOME TEAM. If Boston wanted to get home court calls, maybe they should’ve tried harder on April 20th to lock up home court in Round 1. In addition, I saw numerous calls go against us last night, particularly whenever KG or Paul Pierce was involved. We may get a few home court calls, but trust, those two dudes get every single superstar call. If you want to blame anyone for the loss, blame your players for missing all their perimeter jumpers. Or maybe just give credit where credit is due: the Hawks were the better team last night.

  • http://www.fullc0urtpress.com KHOLIDAY

    Rondo is my homie, but he’s getting suspended, lol… He definitely stuck his chest out. I’d try to blame it on those Nike cushion armour pad things everybody wears! If OJ got off, Rondo can beat the trial.

  • Myung

    heals, I predicted 5 or 7. I still might end up being wrong, and if I am, I’ll man up and come on here and admit it. But no one ever apologizes to us for disrespecting us every single year. Just a year ago, no one gave us a chance vs. Orlando, and the Hawks made all those “experts” look dumb. This year? How many “experts” had Atlanta beating Boston in Round 1? My man DeMarco did for SLAMonline, but like me, he’s a biased ATL-ien. How many people in the NATIONAL media gave us a chance? I think Chad Ford is the only guy without Atlanta ties who predicted Atlanta would beat Boston. I admit “Hawks in 5″ sounds ridiculous, but it doesn’t sound as bad as Riggs, who wrote, “lol hawks are gonna get swept” in the ATL-BOS preview. I guess we’ll see how the series plays out.

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    Damn, that really sucks. I think the combination of Rondo being in the refs ear the entire game (which he had every right to be!), coupled with the fact that he got tossed before the bump, are gonna compound into a suspension. The chest bump alone really wasn’t THAT bad, but Stern is that kind of cat that sees thing in black and white.

    With Rose and Dwight out due to injuries, and this probable suspension (hopefully it’s only 1 game), the Eastern Conference’s first round lost a lot of steam for me.

  • Myung

    heals, you can talk about common sense all you want, but let’s not forget what happened to the 2005 Phoenix Suns. Common sense DIDN’T apply, and those suspenions arguably cost the Suns a title. If Stern is consistent, he will suspend Rondo for Game 2. For the record, I predicted Hawks in 5 or 7 before the Rondo incident. My take was, the Celtics are not nearly as scary as they were in 2008, and the Hawks are full of seasoned veterans who can win us 4 games this series. I’m not trying to disrespect Boston. I simply felt like (especially with home court) we could knock Boston out this year. I feel stronger about it because we won last night (and I feel like Rondo should be out for Game 2). I just hope that if we beat Boston, that C’s fans won’t make excuses, like Ray Allen’s injury or Rondo’s (possible) suspension. Remember, we’re without a starting center right now (no Al Horford or Zaza). We’re playing Jason Collins, who in my opinion, is the 450th best NBA player in the League right now, which means when he’s on the court, we’re basically playing 4 on 5. There’s no need to whine about playing without Al and Zaza. We’ve just got to play with the healthy guys we have right now. I’m sure Boston will do the same, with or without Allen or Rondo.

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    Myung, your passion for ATL runs deep. Your “us against the world” chip on your shoulder is the EXACT same one I had for the Raptors . . . until they drafted Rafael Arujo.

  • Top$helf

    First of all no team should get favorable calls home team or otherwise but it happens. That was a bull$h!t foul call on that play yes he tripped yes he chest bumped the ref and yes he should be suspended.

  • http://anba.com LazyBalls

    Bad calls happen ALL the time in EVERY sport. But, no matter what, you DO NOT bump an official. Who the f*k do you think you are?!

  • Myung

    haha. That’s hilarious, Meat Hook. Let’s not even compare bad draft history. I don’t want to have a depressing Monday. Dude, I was born in 1977. The ATLANTA HAWKS OF THE EASTERN CONFERENCE (can’t count the St. Louis days, nor the few seasons we moved to Atlanta and played in the West) have never made it past Round 2 in my lifetime. With Boston reeling and with Rose out (assuming Chicago beats Philly), this is our best shot at making the ECF since at least 1994 (the stupid Danny Manning year). Boston fans have, what, 17 titles. We’re just trying to make it to the ECF. Let us have our moment in the sun (even though I’m sure we’ll get scorched by the Heat).

  • http://360special.blogspot.ca dev0

    Does he mean “I didn’t think he stopped…”? because saying “I thought he stopped” doesn’t make sense. If Marc Davis kept walking, Rondo may not have run into him according to his explanation. That Davis stopped unexpectedly is what caused Rondo to bump into him makes some sense, but not if Rondo’s saying “I thought he stopped.”

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    Best of luck, Myung(pulling for Boston, though). Did Horford say he’ll be able to come back for the 2nd round?

  • Myung

    I’ve tried to see every interview he gives (he’s my favorite Hawk). As of now, he hasn’t given any timetable. We just know he’s out for Round 1. I really HOPE he comes back by Round 2, but I don’t want to get my hopes up. Wouldn’t shock me if he’s not back by round 2, but that would be a major shot in the arm for us if he came back.

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    Yeah, if Chi and Atl meet next round, I’d probably give a slight edge to the Hawks if Horford can come back (even if he’s only playing at say 80%).

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Which decision was worse as far as basketball IQ?
    Rondo or Metta World Peace
    Gotta be Rondo,right? I mean, you have a series you can win and the next series is winnable as well. So anything the jeopardizes your chances, particularly something as stupid as bumping a ref, is ridiculous.

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    I agree Allenp. Also, Rondo’s the most important player on his team!

  • vtrobot

    Ha ha, Jason Collins. That is rough. Myung, I always give the Hawks a chance against the C’s. I don’t really like how the C’s match up with the Hawks. I think Zasa actually gets into KG’s head more than most in the L. You never know what Hawks team you’re going to face and you have someone like Joe that can go off. Rondo is getting 1 game. The league isn’t going to give on the contact with the official rule.

  • 23

    Look at rondos shoulders and then tell me it was accidental smh..

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I don’t remember if it was Da Meat Hook or Dungeon Family, but somebody compared Khloe Kardashian to Big Bossman a few days ago, and I just want to say that comment still makes me laugh hard enough to cry.
    I’m doing it right now.

  • Rainman

    WEll he’s gonna get suspended. But lets not act like that call, and the out of bounds call before it, wasnt just BS. Horrible reffing. BOOK THAT!

  • tomtom

    Haha cosign Jones. And I’m a lakers guy!

  • Omar


  • Rainman

    and LOL @ da-meat-hook’s rafael araujo comment. Man, as a Toronto citizen im tellin u, that was broootal

  • Heals

    Mos def Myung, I gotta remember that chip on your shoulder is for the “loud” C’s fans and ignorant media heads not folks like myself. Don’t forget the C’s are missing Wilcox and Green as well, 2 guys perfectly suited for the Hawks. Not saying, but I’m saying. I thought with RayRay and Zaza the series was the C’s to take (60-40%), without them it’s (50-50). Let’s just say I’m not a fan of the Neanderthal’s game…

  • http://staticseth.blogspot.com Seth

    Even the biggest cry babies in the league know you can’t touch the refs. Not a smart move.

  • @boweezy24

    Rondo With A MWP Mentality! :)


    boston would have won the game if it werent for the horrible officiating (they were on a run when those back to back bad calls by the same ref were made). They had cut down the lead to six by that point with a lot of time remaining. That was one horrible game by the celts which you wont be seeing again in this series. Atlanta isnt going to come out of the first round (also because you have t-mac in your roster).

  • MItchell Martinez

    haha this is funny, ” I even think I tripped on his foot. I didn’t intentionally chest-bump him. But that’s what it appears to be.” he doesn’t even know, what a dumbs. he deserves to be suspended 2 days minimum.

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/tray-5 T-Ray

    No way he should suspended. It should be a heavy fine no doubt but a suspension? Thats excessive IMO

  • Dankstank

    The “I thought he stopped” excuse makes absolutely no sense. If he had foreseen the ref stopping, rondo would’ve never bumped into him in the first place. Unless I’m missing something that makes no sense at all

  • bike

    He used the trip as an excuse to bump the ump and the day of reckoning his arrived. Sucks being an a##hole, doesn’t it Rondo?

  • http://nba.com/celtics lights out

    the hawks didn’t win because of the officials, the hawks won because they played well. more specifically, they shot the ball very well, especially early on, the celts were ice cold except during the couple of runs they made. if i’m the hawks, though, i wouldn’t be too too satisfied with that game. they shot a LOT of jumpshots, Josh Smith especially (as I think myung pointed out), and I wouldn’t want to have to rely on that going forward. as for Rondo, I think he’ll be suspended a game, which hurts the Celtics big time, especially if Ray is still out.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Kenny Smith noted, truthfully, that Josh is a decent mid range shooter. He just sucks balls from long range and that’s where he always wants to spot up.
    I’m consistently impressed with Jeff Teague’s athleticism. He just needs a better feel for the game and more confidence.

  • Conrad


  • ALD

    lol … a suspension for this is just stupid IMO. Just fine him and suspend him next season… He made 2 bad callsand should expext to get yelled at just like everybody else who gets something wrong. The refs are not aboe the players. The NBA is starting to “CARE” too much.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    If David Stern doesn’t suspend Rondo, me and the ghost from 2007 are going to go raise hell at the league office.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Why would you suspend him next year for something he did this year?
    Clear violation, one game suspension.

  • ALD

    @AllenP WAT happened with bynum last year?? That was worse!

  • Myung

    Allen, he really has gotten better from mid range. I’ll give him that. But in reality, he just shouldn’t shoot jumpers period. I think he would be a much more effective player if he just stuck to his strengths (attacking the rim, crashing the boards, filling the lane on fast breaks, putting up shots within 5 feet of the rim). That being said, he had a GREAT shooting night last night and was the primary reason we won. So I’ll give credit where credit is due. The one shot he absolutely needs to eliminate is the 3 ball. I hate when he takes 17 footers (which he was doing last night), but those I can at least stomach. But three pointers? C’mon, Josh. 206 for 741 career from downtown. If most people missed 535 of 741 shots from ANY range (other than FT’s), they would simply eliminate it from their games. Josh did that for one season (2009-10), when he shot 0 for 7. That also was arguably the best season in his career (prior to the current one). Incredibly, as soon as Mike Woodson was fired, he went from 7 attempts in 2010 to a career high 154 attempts last year, which means Larry Drew and the staff have zero control over his shot attempts. I don’t think Josh is a great dribbler or decision maker, but I can live with those things. But his three point shooting? Seriously… I will never ever understand why a 6’10″ guy who can’t shoot from distance insists on shooting 3′s. It boggles the mind.

  • Myung

    ALD, that Bynum thing happened during the last Laker game of their postseason run. THAT is why it was applied to this season. Apples and oranges.

  • Myung

    I’m glad you mentioned Teague, Allen. He is SO good defensively. I loved watching Mookie Blaylock run the point for us in the 90′s because he was an absolutely deadly on the ball defender, and Jeff is almost in his class. QUICK FEET and QUICK HANDS. He doesn’t have Rondo’s freakish hands or arm length, but he’s still one of the L’s best defensive point guards and maybe next year he’ll get his just due. His jump shot and tear drop are also way better than last season, so it’s clear that 1. He worked on his shooting and 2. His confidence is up. Still baffles me that it took a Hinrich injury (last play of the Orlando series in Round 1) to shove Teague into the starting line up (vs. Chicago in Round 2). Had that not happened, I wonder if he’d STILL be on our bench. It’s crazy that draft mates Jrue Holiday and Ty Lawson were given plenty of playing time from day 1, while Teague was benched in favor of Mike bibby and later Kirk Hinrich. Bibby was a shell of his former self the past 3 years, and Hinrich is also past his prime. Teague finally got some national exposure in Round 2 last year vs. D Rose. Maybe this year, he’ll finally get the credit he deserves if the Hawks can make a long Playoff run (fingers crossed).

  • ALD

    @myung no that was game 4 in the WCF

  • Myung

    It was actually in Game 4 of Round 2, not the WCF. And there was no Game 5 because the Lakers got SWEPT.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    larry drew said before the season that he wanted Josh to shoot more threes.
    I don’t now why, but he said it. I agree with you though. I think they should play him at the three and have him post up smaller players and beat them up inside.
    But that’s me.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Thanks you Myung for explaining that. I thought it was obvious.

  • Myung

    I have NO IDEA why LD would want Josh to shoot more 3′s. Maybe he figured it would make the locker room a more peaceful one if Josh was given free reign? I have no clue. OTHER THAN THAT… Larry Drew has had one of the best 2 year runs of any head coach in this league, in light of the credit he receives (which is none). Look at the job he did this past season. We’ve integrated a new starting PG (last year, our starters were Bibby and then Hinrich) in Jeff Teague. We’ve played about 85% of the year without Al Horford. We got several new bench players to integrate: T-Mac, Pargo, Vlad, Willie Green, Dampier. Hinrich missed a ton of games. Joe missed several games in the middle of the season. We lost a guy who was 6th man of the year just 2 years ago (Jamal Crawford). We played an entire regular season without our starting lineup being intact even once. LD has had to use 11 different starting lineups. We won 40 out of 66 games. The only teams with better records? There are 7. Chicago. OKC. Miami. San Antonio. The Lakers. Those are the obvious ones. The other two are Indiana (better by 2 games) and the Grizzlies (better by 1). That’s it. Those are the teams that had better records than us in the regular season. Yet LD gets none of the credit that any of the other top head coaches receive. A lot of people have been praising SVG, Doc Rivers, Doug Collins, Tyrone Corbin, Kevin McHale, and Rick Adelman and while all of them did good to great jobs this past year (especially Tyrone Corbin), all of their teams had worse records than LD’s squad.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Sorry, not this year, his first year. He said they were opening things up for Josh. I think he was Josh’s best friend on the team when Woodson was the coach, you know the assistant coach you go to and complain. So he was protecting his base.

  • Myung

    So 154 in his first year with LD. This year, he brought it down to 109 attempts (in 66 games). I guess he shot it SLIGHTLY less than last year. I’m OK with giving Josh a few three pointers every now and then. Like maybe 1 every 25 games? That sounds about right. :)

  • http://fjklsf.com Jukai

    A year after Amare and Diaw were suspended for stepping two inches onto the court, Rondo got off his seat and put his foot over the line during the Zaza/Garnett scuffle… an there was no suspension.
    To make it worse, Garnett TOUCHED the ref in that scuffle too… no suspension…
    I bet you Rondo plays. The league loves the Celts.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    The League is not letting Rondo and the Celts slide this time around. If I remember correctly he was supspended earlier this season for the same action (being physical with a ref).

  • http://www.twitter.com/_dfrance dfrance21

    Unless it can be proven that this was unintentional contact, he’s gonna get a 1 game suspension at the very least. People may feel its excessive, but the rule states “intentional contact with an official=1 game suspension.”

  • 602Shorty

    The only way Rondo could avoid being suspended is if he was wearing a Lakers jersey. Other than that, two games playing cheerleader.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Yeah Lakers players always avoid being suspended… WTF…

  • MikeC.

    The only saving grace for Rondo is that it was very obvious that he brushed his foot against one of the players on the floor (Bass I think) and then stepped on the ref’s foot. He did lost his balance, but the follow-through on the bump could sink him. While we’re on the topic of Rondo’s freakish hands and arms, has anyone noticed the ridiculous size of Kahwi Leonard’s hands? In the Jazz-Spurs game, I saw him fake a full court baseball pass with one hand. The only other person I’ve seen do that is Otis Thorpe and I’m pretty sure he could palm a minivan.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow


  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Kawaii Leonard’s hands are f*ckin huge. They were discussing it when he was at SDSU & the Combine – (9.8 inches long, 11.3 inches wide). No player at the combine had hands longer than Leonard; only center Greg Smith’s hands were wider.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Nick Tha Quick

    Kawaii’s Leonard’s hands are so big he can slap you on one cheek and his fingers will still coil around and slap you on the other cheeek.

  • bike

    Leonard supposedly could dunk a regular-size medicine ball on a 12-foot rim at SDS. Legend has it anyway
    Legend also has it he sports an 18″ member. I don’t believe it but it makes one wonder.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    I don’t think there is such a thing as an 18″ ‘member’, but why am I even talking about tally wackers on SLAM…

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    My gf told me she was watching “Strange Sex” on TLC and they reported the largest “member” in the world is 13 inches in length and 8 inches in circumference . . . Why she decided to tell me that while we were in bed, I don’t know :S

  • http://www.fullc0urtpress.com KHOLIDAY

    ^^^^ she told you because ur name is DA MEAT HOOK… Maybe she thought you were interested!

  • Da-Meat_Hook

    @ KHOLIDAY, she calls me by my birth name: “Street Meat”


    Hawks in 6

  • MikeC.

    Wow. This thread got peculiar.

  • http://www.slamonline.com The riddler

    One game seems fair

  • http://www.slamonline.com Nick Tha Quick

    You guys are funny and weird.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    What the f*ck?!?!!?!?! For a stupid bump? F*ck that, for a one-game suspension he should have kicked him in the b@lls.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Ridiculous, man. A fine would have more than sufficed. I’m tired of the league f*cking ruining playoff series’ with their bullsh!t. While we’re at it the Sacremento Kings would like a cut of that early 2000′s gambling money. What a stupid rule in an even dumber rule book. Rondo should wipe his ass with it. They won’t call travels from the rule book, or 3 second violations, but bump a ref and suddenly word is bond! I’m not even a Boston fan but damn, this makes me angry.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Is Street or Meat the surname?

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    sorry for the crazy outbursts, I’m going off right now ’cause it’s about 30 minutes til tip-off time and I don’t want the Knicks to get hammered.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Ref missed a call where the ball was off of Josh Smith’s hand, then the same ref called a foul on a scramble play. Rondo one game suspension is ridiculous, should have been a hefty fine, with a warning. NBA was trying to look good in public, policing their players. Celtics will win, Bradley can step in and lead a team to a W. BOOK IT!!

  • Danno

    rondo should choke somebody in the next game

  • Otis

    Good grief, it’s got to the point where I’m agreeing with The Seed. Book it.

  • ClydeSays

    You can see in the replay that Rondo trips slightly over Bass’s shoe, but still, he shouldn’t have been following the ref and if he teammates weren’t sprawled all over the the floor they would have held him back. Doc always preaches no 4th quarter techs, and this is a prime example why. The C’s had clawed their way back into the game, the the foul and 2 techs. A 4 pt swing with no time off the clock. Rondo should know better.

  • http://Roosterteeth.com Caboose

    I don’t get it guys. IT’S IN THE RULE BOOK. You can’t use subjective “reasoning,” he absolutely deserves a one game suspension. He clearly bumped into the ref after taking a step towards him. Whether he tripped or not should not be relevant; he stuck his chest forward in an attempt to intimidate the ref. One game is EXACTLY what the rules say he gets. DO NOT compare this to the Kings series, that’s just pure idiocy, and you know it Teddy.

  • http://slamonline.com Jones

    “He should’ve just punched a fire extinguisher instead.”
    -Amare Stoudemire

  • LeBrOn 4 MvP!

    my boy rondo he on fire. . he get that. .