Rudy Gobert Fined $100K by NBA for Gesture Insinuating Game is Fixed


Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert has been fined $100K by the NBA. The penalty was assessed for what the league determined to be “an inappropriate and unprofessional gesture.” The incident happened during the team’s 113-104 overtime loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 8 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland.

Rudy Gobert sports betting fine NBA
Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert makes a money gesture towards a referee after being called for his sixth foul during his team’s 113-104 overtime loss in Cleveland on March 8, 2024. After the game, Gobert doubled down on his belief that sports betting is causing integrity damage to the league. (Image: USATSI)

During the last 30 seconds of regulation, Gobert was called for his sixth foul after going up for a critical offensive rebound amongst two Cavs players. Minnesota was leading 97-96 at the time when Gobert fouled out of the game.

After unsuccessfully pleading his case to official Scott Foster, Gobert made a money gesture by running his thumbs over the tip of his index and middle fingers. Official Natalie Sago saw the inappropriate gesture and immediately called a technical foul.

Gobert Alleges Sports Betting Problem

Gobert’s gesture presumably would have given him a fine, but the amount rose greatly for his post-game comments. It’s not the first time an NBA player has made the money gesture in response to a foul being called, but Luka Doncic was slapped with a fine of just $35K for the same shrug last year.

Gobert’s fine was elevated for doubling down on his belief that officials are in on a fix of certain games, with the prevalence increasing in the wake of legal sports betting expanding across the U.S.

I’ll be the bad guy. I’ll take the fine. I think it’s [sports betting] hurting our game,” Gobert said. “The betting … is becoming bigger and bigger.”

Gobert conceded he should not have made the gesture during the game. But he didn’t back down from alleging that his sixth foul was a bad call.

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

Minnesota was a 1.5-point favorite against the Cavs. The over/under was 208.5 points.

Allegations Unfounded

While Gobert is correct that sports betting continues to grow in the U.S. — the practice is legal in almost 40 states, with bettors wagering a record $120 billion last year — his allegations that the NBA is fixed are unsubstantiated. The NBA, as well as the NFL, MLB, NHL, and NCAA, have gone to great lengths to protect game integrity in the wake of the country’s embracing of legal sportsbooks.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was the first “Big Four” professional sports leader to get behind legal sports gambling. The NBA prohibits its players, officials, and all team members from betting on the NBA while employed by the team or a franchise.

The NBA also works with U.S. Integrity, a Nevada-based firm, to monitor every second of every NBA game for suspicious betting and irregular wagering patterns.

That said, U.S. Integrity’s surveillance capabilities are limited to data reported by legal, highly regulated sportsbooks. Offshore sports betting platforms remain a major concern.

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