Rudy Fernandez' unsportsmanlike, filthy and provocative actions in last night's Real Madrid - Zalgiris game have caused an unprecedented wave of outcry all over Europe by media, fans and even a number of current Euroleague players in their off-the-record statements to TB.
The player is infamous all over Europe and NBA for similar actions, and it is almost certain this was not the last night the Spanish international is making a mockery of the game of basketball itself, the Euroleague competition and of course his opponents.
You can see the incident from last night in the video below:
In less than two minutes he throws a ball to his opponent's head after a free throw, he taunts and spits on an opponent who was fallen on the court and then with the help of his teammates mobs the same player.
In a rather late realisation of his despicable behaviour, the player himself apologised to Paulius Jankunas on twitter today.
Watching last night game I realize that in the heat of the moment I didn't behave as I should. I want to apologize to Jankunas— Rudy Fernandez (@rudy5fernandez) January 12, 2013
When the player himself admits of wrong behaviour it is only reasonable for one to expect Euroleague to take disciplinary action against the player. But few fans have faith that Euroleague can stand up to giants and stars like Real Madrid and Rudy Fernandez. And an apology seizes being an apology when it is used as an alibi to perpetuate similar actions and going unpunished.
But Rudy Fernandez, and Felipe Reyes amongst others - who grabbed Jankunas by the neck from behind in the same incident - have repeatedly gotten away with their anti-fair play actions for a number of years now.
But last night was really the drop that overflowed the cup as this was the first time there has been such a massive, public and organised outcry all over Europe by media, fans and even by professional Euroleague players, who wanted to remain anonymous.
If Euroleague wants to call itself a serious organisation who cares even the least about fair-play and the spirit of the game, they should take action now. In fact, not now, they should've already done that. Following the model of NBA in many aspects over the past few years they must also adopt their practice of using the video to hand out fines and bans to players who were either involved in unsportsmanlike behaviours or flopping.
Last week Euroleague sent a letter to all clubs with a list of all fines against clubs, calling them to take actions to stop the phenomenon. But if the Euroleague itself doesn't take action against Rudy Fernandez and some vigilante Zalgiris fans (or even players themselves, as we've already had Batum's example) feel they have been wronged and take matters in their owns hands, who will be to blamed then?
Written by Arkadios Chasirides
Editor-in-Chief of TalkBasket.net