Another NBA game, another homosexual slur by a player.
This time, it wasn’t the Lakers’ high-profile Kobe Bryant yapping a sexual epithet at an official, but Bulls center Joakim Noah spitting an alarmingly similar one at a Miami fan during Sunday’s 96-85 loss to the Heat in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Noah was fined $50,000 on Monday. The league said Bryant’s $100,000 fine for his April 13 outburst “included discipline for verbal abuse of a game official,” according to ESPN.com.
Noah’s incident comes just days after several high-profile people in sports have brought issues surrounding homosexuality into the open. Last week, Phoenix Suns president Rick Welts, ESPN radio personality Jared Max and former Villanova basketball player Will Sheridan came out publicly.
Suns point guard Steve Nash has an ad running in which he supports gay marriage in New York. That follows NHL star Sean Avery’s ad in the same series.
“I apologize. The fan said something that was disrespectful towards me,” said Noah, a 26-year-old native of New York. “And I went back at him. Got it on camera.
“Anybody who knows me knows that I’m not like that. I’m an open-minded guy. I said the wrong thing and I’m going to pay the consequences deal with the consequences — like a man.”
Noah’s double F-sharp outburst also brought criticism from the national gay and lesbian rights group GLAAD, noting the attention Bryant’s original slur created. “These anti-gay remarks, coming so soon after, demonstrate how much needs to be done,” its statement read.