Last week, the NBA suspended Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo for two games after he attacked and shoved Brooklyn Nets big man Kris Humphries during an altercation with Kevin Garnett. It was the response everyone suspected, and perhaps even a bit lenient considering that the league suspended a player for the same length of time after he confronted an announcer for the opposing team. Then again, I guess words can hurt, too.
As with most suspensions, the NBA hoped that this punishment would cause Rondo to reflect on his actions and change his ways before returning to the Celtics for Wednesday night's game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Except it didn't, and he used the time away as an excuse to take a short vacation in Mexico. Watch the video above from CSNNE.com (via PBT) and get the on-scene report from Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe (via The Point Forward):
"I wanted to be out there with my teammates but obviously a 2-game suspension, like I said I was glued in front of the TV," said Rondo, who told reporters he went to Mexico during the break. "Hopefully I don't feel too winded tomorrow. I think I've been off for about a week now. We'll see tomorrow."
When asked if he learned any lessons during his third suspension in nine months, he said: "No."
Rondo did say he missed being around his teammates.
"It was difficult," he said, "I love being around the guys. I love coming into practice and being around them on the team plane, but I had to miss that for a couple of days but other than that everything is back to normal."
The video provides a short encapsulation of Rondo's attitude: The suspension wasn't ideal, but he's happy to be back with his teammates. It was a nuisance, basically, not a mind-altering punishment.
That should be expected from Rondo, who considers himself extremely loyal to teammates. To him, the loss of two games was the byproduct of the positives of proving to his teammates that he'll stand up for them. And while that decision might not make sense for a superstar, it's part of Rondo's personality as it currently exists.
The punishment, then, isn't so much a punitive action as much as the cost of doing business. As in the case of Stephen Jackson and his technical fouls, Rondo accepts the suspension because he felt he needed to stick up for a teammate. It's not the most mature approach, but this holistic view of the situation helps place his actions in the proper context.