“ESPN.com” reported Monday afternoon that the NBA has fined Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah $50,000 for directing an anti-gay epithet at a Miami Heat fan during Sunday night’s game three of the Eastern Conference Finals at American Airlines Arena. Noah ended up being fined half of what Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant had to pay for a similar incident that occurred on April 12, when the Lakers played the San Antonio Spurs. A spokesman for the Association, Mark Broussard stated that Bryant’s fine was more costly as his remarks were directed at an NBA referee.
Noah and NBA officials had a discussion concerning the incident before the fine was issued. The Bulls center talked to reporters prior to the fine being levied. The big man said “The fan said something that was disrespectful towards me. And I went back at him. Got it on camera. I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. 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. I don’t want to be a distraction to the team right now.”
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination (GLAAD) President James Barrios issued a statement concerning the incident. Barrios said “Last month the NBA sent an important message about how such slurs fuel a climate of intolerance and are unacceptable. These anti-gay remarks, coming so soon after, demonstrate how much needs to be done.”