By Dennis Berry
The NBA fined Joakim Noah $50,000 Monday for yelling an anti-gay slur towards a fan during game three of the Eastern Conference Finals Sunday night. The cameras were on Noah as he was on the bench during the first quarter and yelled toward a fan.
This is the second time that an NBA player has been caught on television using the slur. Kobe Bryant was caught using the same slur in a regular season game against San Antonio in April. Bryant was fined $100,000 by the league.
It both instances the players let their emotions get the best of them.
Kobe Bryant yelled the slur towards a game official. After receiving a technical foul, Bryant went to the bench and punched a chair. Soon after the cameras were on Kobe as he yelled the slur towards the referee Bennie Adams.
On Sunday night Noah was on the bench and turns toward the fan and yelled to him. From what is known, a fan behind the Bulls bench had been yelling at Noah since the start of the game. It seems statements about Noah's mom pushed him to lash out.
Just seeing two NBA players use such a slur is very troublesome in itself for the league. Another aspect that is upsetting is the fact that the NBA did not fine Noah more than Bryant. Instead Noah was only fined half of what Bryant was. If anything Noah should have been fined more, because he should have known better after what happened to Bryant.
The NBA acknowledged that the reason that Bryant's fined included discipline for verbal abuse of a game official. NBA Commissioner David Stern called Bryant's slur, "offensive and inexcusable."
The NBA also condemned Noah's comments, but it must have been different because it was directed towards a fan. The NBA called Noah's use of the slur, "derogatory and offensive."
The question is why Noah was only fined half of Bryant. It appears that the NBA thinks that yelling a derogatory slur towards a referee is worse then yelling it at a fan. That fan paid for his ticket to be able to watch the game. It almost makes the NBA seem to care less about the fans than their referees.
If anything, Noah should have been fined the same amount as Bryant. Just because Noah directed it to a fan and Bryant to a referee makes no difference. The use of such a slur has no place in the game and should be fined equally. If anything, Noah should be fined more because he knew better after what happened with Bryant.
Another question this brings up is what fans' rights are during games. Fans that pay for tickets have every right to enjoy the game. They should be able to cheer and yell as loud as they please. They can boo and show their dislike for something, too.
Last week Phoenix Suns President and CEO Rick Welts came out and said that he is gay. Also the NBA has started airing a public service statement denouncing the use of anti-gay slurs. Noah's actions make you wonder if players are really taking to the message the NBA is putting out.
The NBA must do a better job of eliminating this and all derogatory statements from the game. If they want to fine players then the fine must be the same across the board, no matter who the statement is directed to. If that does not work then perhaps they need to look into suspending players.
Whatever it takes, the NBA needs to take every step to make sure that its players are not caught on camera using slurs when they get upset.
We'd love to hear your comments and/or opinions. If you submit them here, other visitors can read them, rate them and comment on them. An e-mail address is not required.