Timberwolves’ Rudy Gobert Suggests Sports Betting Is Influencing Officiating

Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert suggested sports betting is influencing how NBA referees are officiating games after the Timberwolves lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Rudy Gobert, Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA 

Gobert was assessed a technical foul with 27.8 seconds left in regulation during the Timberwolves-Cavaliers game. The All-Star was whistled for his sixth and disqualifying foul with Minnesota leading by one point and he responded by flashing the money sign with both hands.

Referee Natalie Sago saw Gobert do it and slapped him with a technical, sending Cleveland guard Darius Garland to the line for a foul shot that tied the game at 97.

The Cavaliers would go on to win 113-104 in overtime. 

“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, via The Athletic. “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.

“I made some mistakes. I air-balled a dunk. Mistakes happen. Referees make mistakes, too. But sometimes I think it’s more than mistakes. I think everyone that’s in this league knows. I think it’s got to get better.”

Gobert said he fully expects to be fined for his comments and for being “the bad guy again that speaks what I think is the truth.” The 31-year-old said he felt compelled to speak his mind.

“I think it’s hurting our game,” Gobert said. “I know the betting and all that is becoming bigger and bigger, but it shouldn’t feel that way.”

Sports betting is legal in 38 states, including Ohio, where there is a brick-and-mortar sportsbook at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, operated by Caesars. The NBA, like other major pro sports in the U.S., has embraced fans betting on its games.

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