Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah got slapped with a $50,000 fine by commissioner David Stern for his anti-gay slur that he directed at a fan during the third game of the Eastern Conference Finals. After speaking with Noah, the league released its punishment “for using a derogatory and offensive term from the bench.”
Joakim Noah has been nothing but apologetic and says he will learn from the experience.
“I think it’s fair,” Noah said Tuesday. “I made a mistake, learn from it and move on. That’s about it.”
The first things that comes to most peoples minds is the fact that Kobe Bryant got fined double what Noah did after spewing a gay slur at an official last month. The league claims that is precisely why Bryant’s fine was $100,000.
“Kobe’s fine included discipline for verbal abuse of a game official,” NBA spokesman Mark Broussard said.
I think the problem here is that the league is determining that is far worse for a player to use a term like this towards an official than it would be to use it towards a fan. The fact of the matter is that it should be unacceptable in any situation and whom they direct it towards should not weigh heavier on the punishment. They came out and gave Kobe a big fine and set a precedent and now it seems like they are retreating.
I am not a big fan of Joakim Noah but I will give credit where credit is due. He manned up and admitted his mistakes and is taking his punishment like a man. He is taking his lumps but trying not to be a distraction to his team or lose focus.
“The fan said something that was disrespectful towards me,” Noah said, about five hours before the fine was announced. “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.”
I am not forgiving Noah for his comments but he is trying to make it right. It is time for the focus to be taken off of Noah and put on the league. It is time for the league to realize this problem is not going to go away if they continue to treat these incidences differently in severity depending on who is involved.
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