Noah Fined $50,000, Apolgizes For Slur
By Benjy Lipsman in News on May 24, 2011 3:24PM
Caught on camera using an anti-gay slur during Sunday night's Bulls-Heat game, the NBA fined Joakim Noah $50,000 on Monday for the transgression. That was half the amount that the Lakers' Kobe Bryant was recently hit with for a similar comment. However, Kobe's comment was directed at an official rather than a fan.
The Bulls center issued an apology on Monday, stating:
I was frustrated. He said something that was disrespectful toward me, and I lost my cool. People who know me know I'm an open-minded guy. I'm not here to hurt anybody's feelings. I'm just here to help win a basketball game.
Sometimes fans say things that are overboard. But it's on us not to react. If you react, they win. And I did. It was a bad decision on my part.
Given that Noah is the multiracial child of a black French tennis star and a former Miss Sweden who spent his childhood between New York and Paris, he's perhaps among the most worldly of NBA players, so it's somewhat ironic that even he fell back on anti-gay comments to respond to a taunting fan.
And while Noah seemed genuinely contrite during his apology, his teammates showed support for him and remarked on the abuse players withstand from unruly, drunk fans. Luol Deng stood up for his teammate, "I know Jo and I know he didn't mean what he said at all. At the same time, there are times when a fan like that — honestly, I felt like jumping in the crowd and hitting him. We're humans."
The Trib's David Haugh rightly comments today about how, while the league had every right to fine Noah for his actions, that the league also needs to do a better job of holding fans accountable for their boorish behavior, too. The fan who sparked Noah's reaction apparently provoked it by making derogatory comments about Noah's mother. NBA players are there to entertain ticket holders by playing basketball -- buying a ticket doesn't grant the right to abuse a player verbally for one's amusement. These fans need to be ejected from the arenas much more quickly than is presently happening.