Celtics-Nets fight: Rajon Rondo should receive harsh penalty

Jared Wickerham

Rajon Rondo's penalty for his altercation with Kris Humphries that sparked a brawl between the Celtics and Nets should be harsh.

Sorry, Boston Celtics fans, but you might not like what I'm about to say.

Rajon Rondo's actions during Wednesday nights game were inexcusable, rightly resulting in his ejection from the game. After a hard foul from Kris Humphries on Kevin Garnett, Rondo took it upon himself to enforce the law, shoving Humphries and starting a brawl between the Celtics and Nets.

Rondo and Humphries -- along with Gerald Wallace -- were tossed from the game. The league office will review video of the incident Thursday morning and will likely make a decision on Rondo's suspension and/or fine soon after.

When they do, they should come down hard on the Celtics' point guard.

Several elements go into this thought process. Aside from the obvious "you should not be exchanging physical blows with your opponent" mentality, Rondo is a repeat offender. Two incidents come to mind last season, both involving referees. Rondo was suspended for chucking a ball at a referee during a regular season game against the Detroit Pistons and was sidelined again for chest bumping an official during a playoff game against the Atlanta Hawks.

Neither of those incidents will help Rondo's cause. Sean Grande of WEEI put it best when he said that the principal isn't as lenient during your second visit.

The biggest issue, however, is that the fight made its way into the crowd.

This isn't the WWE, where fans can expect the fight to come to them. Basketball fans are there to enjoy a game, not to have tall, sweaty guys fall on them and beat each other up. To have an altercation between two players extend into the stands isn't acceptable. It wasn't in the Pistons-Pacers brawl, and it isn't now.

David Stern must send a strong message that this can never, ever happen.

While this altercation wasn't nearly as chaotic as the one in Detroit -- as far as we know, Rondo wasn't beating up fans, a la Ron Artest -- but to have it enter fan territory is bad enough. In that brawl, the NBA assessed 147-games worth of suspensions to those involved. Of course, Rondo should not be suspended for that many games, but to send the message that this doesn't fly, the league should assess a sizable suspension -- in my opinion, five to ten games -- and a big fine.

The lesson must be made clear: fighting, especially near fans, isn't tolerable.

For more Boston Celtics coverage, check our out team blog, Celtics Blog.

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