The NBA announced the New York Knicks were fined $25,000 for a violation of league rules when they refused to make All-Star forward Julius Randle available to the media after Thursday night's 102-91 home loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.
SNY's Ian Begley reported Randle hadn't done a postgame interview for "several games" prior to his unavailability following the Knicks' third straight loss.
Randle was fined $25,000 by the NBA on Jan. 8 for an "egregious use of profane language during media interviews." He'd used vulgar language in two media sessions that week.
"Really don't give a f--k what anybody has to say, to be honest," Randle told reporters Jan. 5. "I'm out there playing. Nobody knows the game out there better than I do, compared to what everybody has to say. So I really don't give a s--t. I just go out there and play."
One day later, after giving a thumbs-down gesture to fans at Madison Square Garden who were booing the team, he said the message was simple: "Shut the f--k up."
Randle apologized for the latter comments in an Instagram post, saying "sometimes you say things you regret to people you love, even if it came from a place of passion and deep love."
The reigning winner of the NBA Most Improved Player Award struggled mightily in Thursday's loss to the Pelicans. He made just one of his nine shots from the field en route to a stat line that featured four points, seven rebounds, six assists and three turnovers.
Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters it wasn't fair to place the blame for the team's recent lull solely on Randle's shoulders:
"It's easy to say that [about Randle being off-kilter], but it's really our entire team. When things aren't going our way, Julius is gonna take a lot of blame. He gets a lot of the credit, but that goes with the turf. But it's a team game, and we didn't get into it with any one individual. When they're not going our way, I just want us to be mentally tough and be able to work through it."
The 27-year-old University of Kentucky product hasn't been able to match his breakout 2020-21 campaign in large part because of his struggles at the offensive end. He's shooting just 41.1 percent from the field, including 30.8 percent from three-point range, through 44 games.
While he's not the only reason the Knicks (22-24) have been stuck around .500 for most of the season, his dip in production is a key factor.
Randle and Co. will attempt to give the MSG fans a reason to stop booing Sunday when they host the Los Angeles Clippers before heading out on a three-game road trip.