Virtually every sports fan on the planet has rolled out some variation of “The refs wanted us to lose!” in an attempt to rationalize a particularly disappointing defeat even when there are plenty of other factors that likely played a role.
Sure, those officials are human beings with the ability to make mistakes and hold a grudge, but it’s usually pretty hard to genuinely believe they’re actively looking for an excuse to swing a contest in the favor of a certain team.
With that said, that has literally happened in the NBA thanks to the well-documented scandal involving ref-turned-convicted felon Tim Donaghy (who has outlined how he fixed games and routinely accused other people in his line of work of tipping the scales for various reasons).
While the NBA successfully scrambled to do damage control when that scandal broke in 2007, The Ref Show has reared its ugly head on a number of occasions over the course of the current season—including one game that led to Fred VanVleet earning every cent of the $30,000 fine he received for a profane tirade where he took aim at the league’s officiating.
Now, Timberwolves big man Rudy Gobert has opted to get in on the action thanks to what unfolded during Minnesota’s 107-100 loss at the hands of the Suns on Wednesday night.
Phoenix got 27 chances to shoot a free throw over the course of that contest compared to the 12 attempts the Timberwolves were granted, and Gobert (who finished the game with five personal fouls) was not shy about calling attention to that discrepancy while all but ensuring a fine will be coming his way.
Here’s what he had to say via The Minneapolis Star Tribute:
“It’s b******. It’s b******. It’s not fair. It’s really not fair. Every night.
I’ve been in this league for 10 years and I try to always give the benefit of the doubt, but it’s hard for me to think they’re not trying to help the, win tonight. It’s hard for me to think they didn’t try to help the Warriors win the other night or Sacramento Kings the other night.
It’s just so obvious. As a basketball player that’s been in this league for so long, it’s disrespectful.”
He also strongly implied the alleged bias could be traced back to the almighty dollar thanks to the theoretical incentive the NBA has to have its best players and most popular teams represented in the playoffs:
“We understand that we’re not the biggest of the markets…I think you want to see KD in the playoffs, Steph in the playoffs, you want to see LeBron in the playoffs.
The Timberwolves are not there yet. We got to keep putting our head down, keep playing through that and it’s frustrating for sure, especially for me.”
Dang, Rudy. Tell us how you really feel.