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UPDATE: Joe Ingles learns his fate for ref shove amid mass ejection for NBA brawl

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12th November, 2021
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Australian NBA star Joe Ingles has been handed a US$30,000 fine for his involvement in a fiery scuffle during his Utaz Jazz’s clash with the Indiana Pacers.

However, he has avoided a suspension for giving referee Ed Malloy a hard shove out of his path as he moved in on the action.

Ingles was one of four players ejected in wild scenes late in the game, after Pacer Myles Turner blocked a shot from Jazz centre Rudy Gobert.

As an off-balance Gobert fell to the court, he pulled Turner down with him, triggering a fracas between the pair that quickly mushroomed.

Both players were quickly given their marching orders once things calmed down, with Ingles and Jazz teammate Donovan Mitchell also sent from the court for their involvement in the fight’s escalation.

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It was Ingles’ second ejection of the season, which triggered an automatic US$4000 fine but will be absorbed into the punishment handed down by the NBA.

Gobert’s fine was even steeper, docked US$35,000 for instigating the fight; while Turner and Mitchell were fined $25,000 and $20,000 respectively.

Contact with a referee is considered an ‘unsportsmanlike tactic’ in the NBA rulebook, and categorised as a technical foul. Any player or coach found guilty of intentionally touching an official receives an automatic one-game suspension without pay, but a heavier penalty can be handed down at the sole discretion of the NBA Commissioner.

Working in Ingles’ favour was Malloy’s statement following the game that he did not believe the contact was intentional, with the Australian’s ejection as much to do with “acting as an instigator and escalating the situation” as the shove.

The competition has been militant on contact with officials in the past. In late 2016, LA Clippers player Austin Rivers was ejected after a far lighter push on referee J.T. Orr.

Rivers would protest his innocence at the time, saying: “I saw the video… I didn’t do nothing wrong.

“I had no idea the ref was there. I was backing up and I said, ‘Call the foul.’ When I did it, I was turning and he was right there and my elbow touched him. I’ve never in my career put my hands on a ref, and I don’t ever plan to.”

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Four is far from the most players ejected at one time in the NBA, however. That ‘honour’ goes to the infamous fight between the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks in December 2006, which saw all ten players on the court sent packing in the final seconds of the game.

For the record, the Pacers went on to win the match 111-100.

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