Society has a long history of normalizing domestic violence, especially when an athlete is involved.
In the midst of one of its highest-viewed postseasons in a decadethe NBA just got something else added to its plate besides bad officiating and health and safety protocols. Veteran NBA point guard Rajon Rondo has been in the news after TMZ recently revealed that he was involved in a very alarming and serious domestic incident. The gist of the matter is that Rondo allegedly blew up on the mother of his children, in front of the children, after she asked one of the kids to help with some laundry while they were playing video games with Rondo.
“You’re dead” is what Rondo allegedly told the woman, before he left and came back with a gun, demanding to see his kids. The league is officially “in the process of gathering more information” about the incident, as the combination of the allegation and who is involved are what makes this situation so surprising. On one hand, when it comes to incidents in which domestic violence is allegedly involved, the public persona of the person shouldn’t play a part in whether or not the claims are believed or scoffed at. But, on the other hand, the court of public opinion usually sides with the man. And just because Rondo doesn’t look or seem like the person who would do something like this, it doesn’t mean that it, or something, didn’t happen.
In 2018, when Rondo was with the Lakers, he was suspended for three games without pay for his part in a fight with the Houston Rockets. Brandon Ingram and Chris Paul also served suspensions.
In 2019, a similar situation happened when TMZ broke a story about DeMarcus Cousins and a domestic incident he was involved in. The gist of his story was that he was upset that the mother of his son wouldn’t allow him to attend his wedding.
“I’m gonna ask you this one more time before I take it to another level,” Cousins is heard saying on the recorded phone conversation … “Can I have my son here, please?”
When the woman said no, Cousins replied, “I’m gonna make sure I put a bullet in your fucking head.”
Eventually, the third-degree harassment charges against Cousins were dropped and he wasn’t suspended by the league. However, he did confirm that it was his voice on the recording when he publicly spoke about the incident by calling it an “unfortunate situation.”
“It’s an unfortunate situation. I had a special moment in my life, I wanted all my family to be there. A little piece of happiness while I’m going through whatever I’m going through,” he said on a February 2020 episode of the All The Smoke Podcast. “Things didn’t work out the way I wanted it to for my day, I was upset. So I said some things I shouldn’t have said, but that person knew what it was coming from. I mean I’ve seen a lot of things, heard a lot of stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I’m 100 percent against domestic violence. Like 100 percent. I watched my mother go through that as a child. So when it comes to that, I’m the first advocate for that. But with that being said, I said the wrong thing. Heat of the moment. We’ve all done it… When it comes to your kids, it’s a whole ‘nother situation. I’m pretty sure everybody with kids can speak on that. But it was still wrong.”
Regardless of what did or didn’t happen in both incidents, the league is dealing with its second incident in which a player has threatened to use a gun, or allegedly showed up with a gun, in a heated domestic situation with the mother of their children. And the first time one of these incidents occurred, it just kind of came and went as the story eventually fell by the wayside. That’s why this time has to be different if the allegations against Rajon Rondo are as real as they seem. This is the kind of stuff that’s allowed and ignored in the NFL. So, if Adam Silver and the NBA want to keep appearing as the American pro sports league that’s serious about serious matters, then they will make sure this incident is properly handled and sets a standard for the future.