Charles Barkley addresses Rudy Gobert's issue with NBA referee Photo credit: TNT

Charles Barkley believes Rudy Gobert deserved a suspension after the Minnesota Timberwolves star risked damaging the NBA’s integrity.

Earlier this week, Gobert earned a $100,000 fine from the NBA for accusing referee Scott Foster of fixing a game. During Minnesota’s 113-104 overtime loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers last Friday night, Gobert was ejected for picking up his sixth foul in the final seconds of regulation and responded by flashing a money sign at Foster, insinuating the NBA official was being paid to alter the outcome.

Thursday night on Inside the NBA, Barkley asked Shaquille O’Neal what he thought about the fine. While O’Neal didn’t think Gobert’s gesture was a big deal, Barkley believed it warranted a suspension.

“The one thing we can never do in sports, ever, is make people think [the game] is not fixed,” Barkley said.

Was that rogue “not” a Freudian slip or just an error? Based on the rest of his rant, it’s fair to assume Barkley intended to say, “is fixed.” Meaning, the one thing we can never do in sports is make people think the game is fixed.

“If we ever get to the point, any sport, if they found out, it would ruin the sport!” Barkley continued. “It would ruin the sport if people thought it was fixed. They fined Luka Dončić, they had fined Rudy Gobert before, I thought they should have suspended him.”

O’Neal downplayed the incident, but Barkley isn’t alone in believing Gobert’s money sign was a big deal. Earlier this week, ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser said NBA commissioner Adam Silver “has a crisis” after the Gobert incident. Kornheiser cited former referee Tim Donaghy, who was caught in a game-fixing scandal nearly two decades ago. Considering the NBA’s past incidents and its current willingness to embrace gambling, the league is never too far removed from having its integrity brought into question, and Gobert’s gesture certainly didn’t help.

[Inside the NBA]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to