The NBA and their front office continue to make fans scratch their head. It seems that there are only a few teams, and a few players that think the regular season actually matters. Long gone are those great collegiate players, who entered the NBA draft either after one or two years, or prolonging their careers to get a degree and move on to bigger and better things.
Rajon Rondo Receives One Game Suspension for Anti-Gay Slur
Most of the kids that come out early, don’t really produce for a few seasons, but there are some exceptions, like Karl Anthony Towns and Anthony Davis – both of Kentucky Wildcat fame. It’s more the exception than the rule, and speaking of another early entry – Rajon Rondo and his proclivity for finding turmoil wherever he goes. The latest drama took place last week, when he spurted out his hate in a game that Sacramento was playing in Mexico City. His spew was aimed at 18-year, respected referee Bill Kennedy.
Rondo is not without controversy. He comes from teams that couldn’t take his antics, despite being a talented player. In fact, he had issues in his one season with the hallowed University of Kentucky Wildcats. They didn’t need him to win, and most teams in the NBA are finding out the same thing about Rond0 – he’s not a team player, and has an extremely large chip on his shoulder. He claims his statement were made out of frustration and being in ‘game’ mode. Funny thing is, his teammate DeMarcus Cousins, who’s every bit of a coach and team issue has never been accused of being anti-gay.
The paltry apology tweet he made was nothing less than a CYA, and his team even put out a statement saying that it was inappropriate and downright wrong. So, let’s see what the all-inclusive NBA did after reviewing film and listening to his profanity laced anti-gay statement to one of the league’s most respective officials. A one game suspension, which amounts to as much as one of those referees calling a player for traveling. Basically, it’s less than a slap on the wrist, and makes a mockery of what the real issue concerns.
Rondo is being called out by a lot of folks, not just in the LBGT community. ESPN’s Steven A. Smith, as well as others wonder why he took this route in justifying his comments to Mr. Kennedy. Perhaps it’s some of the past issues that his former coach of the Celtics, Doc Rivers had with Kennedy. It has been reported that Rivers had issues with the referee, and questioned his sexual persuasion. Did that rub off on Rondo, as he made his way from team to team, or is this something that goes deeper to a problem in the NBA, and other sports in general?
I’m sure he’s not the only one to feel this way, deep down, but he did blurt it out in front of other players, Mr. Kennedy’s colleagues, and the countless fans who paid good money to watch him play a kid’s game, that he gets paid for, and well. Folks in Mexico City don’t often get to see NBA starts in action, so perhaps Mr. Rondo felt that they couldn’t read his ugly statements in English, because after all, they speak Spanish in Mexico. Wonder how he feels about the Mexican people, since he has such little regard for Bill Kennedy and his own personal preferences.
At the end of the day, Kennedy felt the need to come out and state that he was, indeed, gay and proud of it. Is this the way individuals who are respected in their field have to react when someone that doesn’t have a clue or sense of decency says something hurtful to another human being? I guess it doesn’t matter to Rondo, since he can just relax for one game, and not lose salary that he certainly ‘deserves’ after this episode.
The NBA, in their inferior wisdom, continues to try and re-brand themselves, and bring more fans from around the world into their web. The problem is, with players like this, and no accountability, what’s going to stop them from continuing to say things that aren’t politically correct? I guess it just shows that money talks, and as long as the League gets all that money for television rights, and sponsor deals, it doesn’t matter how it may affect someone’s life in the short or long-term.
Maybe, just maybe the NBA and their fiefdom should look in the mirror and come up with some sensitivity training, to go along with all their other issues, like drug use, domestic violence, and whatever else they think tarnishes their brand. It would be wise for them to reconsider punishments in this area, and perhaps the younger fans can finally look up to some of these stars as role models, instead of sneaker peddlers.
Nov 19, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Rajon Rondo (9) during the second half against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. The Heat won 116-109. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports