Rajon Rondo's Bump Was Intended, but Don't Suspend Him

Ethan Sherwood StraussNBA Lead WriterApril 30, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 29:  Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics directs his team against the Atlanta Hawks in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on April 29, 2012 at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. The Hawks won 83-74. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

First, let us admit that Rajon Rondo meant to chest bump (nudge?) referee Marc Davis. The idea that Rondo somehow did not intend to make contact with the man whom he angrily approached is almost too ridiculous to engage as a topic.

But the Boston Celtics point guard is compelled to lie, because the NBA rulebook dictates that he must be suspended if contact was intended. So, we get a quote like the following (via ESPN):

"Obviously I was upset about the call and I said some words to Marc," said Rondo, who finished the night with 20 points and 11 assists. "I deserved the first tech and, as I was walking, I thought (Davis) 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."

Well, I don't blame him for the farce. I blame the NBA rulebook. The stringent faux constitution has cost us an interesting playoff series in 1997 (the Knicks-Heat suspensions) and an even better series in 2007 (Amar'e Stoudemire's ouster from Suns-Spurs).

While I understand that contact with officials is strictly forbidden, the idea of relying on a rulebook for zero-tolerance policies doesn't sit well with me. The Rondo bump was contact in the technical sense, but it was harmless.

For those claiming that such a harsh rule protects officials—well, Marc Davis protected himself just fine. The veteran referee ejected Rondo from the game, which was the right move.

Beyond that, the idea that the NBA's hands are tied, that they must suspend Rajon Rondo, is a little silly. If David Stern feels the act was suspension-worthy, I really can't argue such a subjective call.

My preference is to let the point guard play, and my issue is more with rules that may keep that from happening, irrespective of context. The NBA rulebook isn't actual law, and it should be sacrificed for entertainment value when need be.

So yes, Rondo meant to do it. No, don't suspend him.