NBA Comes Down With Punishment on Knicks Star for NSFW Rant(s)

Julius Randle, Knicks

Getty Julius Randle, Knicks

The Thursday come-from-behind win over the Celtics was costly for Knicks star Julius Randle. Not only did he lose a little face among Knicks fans, his not-safe-for-work postgame rant will cost him financially, courtesy of the NBA.

The league doled out a fine of $25,000 to Randle. As it explained in a press release:

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle has been fined $25,000 for the egregious use of profane language during media interviews, it was announced today by Byron Spruell, President, League Operations.

Randle made his comments to the media on two separate occasions — after a Jan. 5 practice and postgame following the Knicks’ 108-105 victory over the Boston Celtics on Jan. 6 at Madison Square Garden.

Julius Randle Has Struggled This Season

Randle has become increasingly irritated in recent weeks by criticism from Knicks fans and others, and on Thursday, that boiled over as the game unfolded on Thursday. He was booed in the first quarter as the Knicks fell behind and booed again as the Knicks trailed by 16 at halftime.

When he was cheered and received chants of “M-V-P,” as the Knicks rallied to take a lead over Boston in the fourth quarter, Randle shook his head and held up a “thumbs-down” sign.

Randle was asked what the thumbs-down was meant to signify. He was blunt: “Shut the f*** up.”

That came after his Wednesday meeting with reporters after the team’s practice. Randle has been the frequent target of criticism because, after signing a hefty contract extension in the offseason, his numbers have slumped, from 24.1 points to 19.6 points, while his shooting has slipped from 45.6% to 42.2%.

“I really don’t give a f*** what anybody has to say, to be honest,” Randle said. “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***. I just go out there and play.”

Egregious, indeed.

Randle Attempts an Apology

Randle did attempt an apology for the incident, apparently recognizing that attacking the home-crowd fans is probably not a good PR strategy, especially given the way the Knicks and Randle have struggled this season. He has played better lately, despite missing two games, and the Knicks have won five straight games in which he has played.

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Here was the text of Randle’s apology, which he posted on Instagram:

Just want to send a quick message to our fans and be clear — I love NYC and being a part of this team and this franchise. And like most Knicks fans, I am really passionate about us being successful. My family and I love how the fans and New Yorkers have embraced and accepted us and have made us feel great about our decision to commit long-term with the team this past summer. This support means the world to us.

I understand that my actions also represent the league, this organization, and the city, and that I should have handled things last night differently and expressed myself with more professionalism and more appropriate language in the heat of the moment. My comment was an example of how sometimes you say things you regret to people you love, even if it came from a place of passion and deep love.

Nobody wants to win more than me and I will continue to show loyalty and dedication to my teammates, the entire Knicks organization, and the fans who have shown me and my family so much love. I am going to keep focusing on the future.

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