Skip to content

Joakim Noah fined $50,000 by league for gay slur

May 23, 2011, 5:45 PM EDT

Miami Heat v Chicago Bulls - Game One Getty Images

The Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah has been fined $50,000 for using a “derogatory and offensive term” against a fan, something caught by TNT cameras during the Bulls Sunday night Game 3 loss in Miami.

The term, a derogatory term for a gay person, is the same one used by Kobe Bryant in the regular season, something that cost him $100,000.

Noah’s situation was a little different, he said it to a heckling fan (Kobe said it to a referee) and Noah was very apologetic right after the game. He admitted he cross the line. (Kobe also apologized and did a public service announcement asking people not to use the word.)

The league confirmed to CBSSports’ Eye on Basketball that the larger fine for Kobe was because he said it to a game official. Usually the league is more protective of the rich folk who can afford seats close enough to heckle players, but that is the official reasoning.

This fine seems appropriate. As our own John Krolik has said before, freedom of speech is different from freedom from consequences. Noah is paying a price for his actions, which seems fair.

  1. 1742hawk - May 23, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    would the NBA fine a player if they said “homosexual punk” or “heterosexual punk ” or “transgender punk?”

  2. Justin - May 23, 2011 at 7:03 PM

    I like that quote ” freedom of speech is different from freedom from consequences.” I may try to use that in the future. I may not give Krolik credit everytime though. I think if I was that fan and Noah was about to call me that I would stop him and say hey why don’t you just give me $25K and I’ll shut up. His incident was indeed much different than Kobe’s though.

    (click my name to check out my blog)

  3. roseann894 - May 23, 2011 at 7:06 PM

    Actually, freedom of speech (in a legal sense) refers to government action against speech/expression. The NBA is not considered the government.

  4. plotkin35 - May 23, 2011 at 7:11 PM

    When are we going to take power away from words, and just start using them? I know many gay people who are not offended by the words “fag, queer, queen or gay”. If we let people use the words, it will remove the power from them. Especially if the person isn’t gay. They know the word means nothing to them. And if you are gay, there may be times when you call someone a “fag, or a queer”. Does it make it any better just b/c you’re speaking to someone in your social circle? Stop making words “bad” and they will lose their power. Plane and simple.

  5. plotkin35 - May 23, 2011 at 7:12 PM

    Should have been plain and simple (not plane)

  6. keyshawn22 - May 23, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    Everyone is way too sensitive he shouldnt have been fined at all.

  7. habibthomas - May 23, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    yeah this is still stupid. stop putting cameras on the players. stop reading lips and searching for drama. like i said leave sideline stuff on the sidelines, unless he comes out in a interview or at podium and starts spouting out slurs in the cam or mic who cares?! im so close to abandoning sports….especially the more pc they become

  8. dkinphx - May 23, 2011 at 7:31 PM

    Uh, yeah. Ok, so a fan isn’t worth as much as a ref, is that the point being made? If the NBA cared about fans AT ALL, the fine would have been MORE than Kobe’s. I’m guessing this is about money. Noah’s fine is half of Kobe’s. Anybody want to bet that he makes about half what Kobe makes?

    Look, the idea of free speech should be legitimately discussed and if there IS a right that applies here then there should be NO fine. The fact is that this isn’t about free speech at all. This is about image, NBA image, player imate, team image, sports athlete image.

    The sad thing here is that Noah probably is not a homophobe. He probably just used terms that have been banned by the method for so long that when it’s actually enforced the players are blindsided by it. The NBA is at fault here for failing to adequately enforce in the past. Now guys are getting what seems like outrageous punishments when it should have been less punishments but more heavily enforced in the past.

  9. Bryce - May 23, 2011 at 7:31 PM

    Joakim Noah is gay

    • Justin - May 23, 2011 at 8:02 PM

      You now owe this website $50,000

      • Bryce - May 24, 2011 at 11:27 AM

        I’m working on a commercial to explain myself :))

  10. dkinphx - May 23, 2011 at 7:33 PM

    insert wink,wink before the word method in above post. I guess the site doesn’t like the use of a “” surrounding words.

  11. redbear18 - May 23, 2011 at 7:56 PM

    Come on joakim, dont put up with that crap! I hate how sports have become so damn politically correct.

  12. mannyfresh209 - May 23, 2011 at 8:14 PM

    youre about to be done with sports because players get fined by a league that has to deal with billions of dollars every year? a lot of it coming from endorsements. we all know how endorsers treat those that have bad public images. i.e. rashard mendenhall after his 9/11 tweets. hahahahaha bro you are quite possibly the biggest nerd ive ever encountered in a blog. hopefully i dont get banned from this site for calling you a nerd.

  13. jcrileyesq - May 23, 2011 at 8:52 PM

    I always find it interesting is that with they is a labor dispute on the horizon… the league offices come up with some bogus fines all of a sudden-nfl and now nba

  14. philtration - May 23, 2011 at 9:44 PM

    If having another guy’s poop smeared all over your lap does not offend you then why get your panties in a bunch for being called a name?

    What is this… the 3rd grade?

    If this were Richard Pryor or Eddie Murphy saying it then it would be broadcast on HBO with a packed house in attendance.

  15. bigtrav425 - May 23, 2011 at 11:21 PM

    Dislike…Horrible move by the NBA…and the media as well..they are just WORDS!…entirely too politically correct this country is anymore and its sickening….for anyone who gets offended by words…..Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  16. philtration - May 24, 2011 at 12:05 AM

    So some a hole insults Noah’s mom and he gets to pay 50 grand while the idiot gloats and takes pride in it all?

    So easy to run you mouth when you know that security will not let anything happen to you.
    Someone here made fun of the fact that Noah wears his hair in a ponytail while playing as if that made him gay himself.
    How long do you think it would take for this guy to chock your pudgy ass out?

  17. mister12 - May 24, 2011 at 9:50 AM

    I not a fan of just offending people for the sake of just doing so, but this is just going a little too far. If the NBA is going to be consistent, then the next time guys are trash talking, and they happen to be black, and one happens to call the other the “term of endearment,” that player should be expecting a fine too. I’m guessing since that is a more tenured “derogatory and offensive” term, it should come with a heftier price tag. Maybe they will higher interpreters for all the foreign players who bless others in their native tongue…SMDH.

  18. bigsrbin - May 24, 2011 at 1:32 PM

    This fine is excessive to say the least. I think this is a bunch of BULL. We have crossed the line on political correctness. What is this world coming to these days. This fan was out of control and the security did nothing about it. They were trying to irritate Noah and get him upset thus throwing his game off. NBA is trying really hard to portray that it is ok to be gay. These people are freaks and they should stay in the closet. World does not care what you do behind closed doors.

  19. pepesmith88 - May 24, 2011 at 6:11 PM

    I heard Mark Jackson the other day saying Joakim claims the fan said something real disrespectful to his mother – which then prompted him to say the gay slur.

    If that is true, I believe any person who does NOT at least retaliate in a war of words with the person who just insulted your mother merits the fine – not the other way around.

    If anything else, Joakim made a weak comeback.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Wizards playing spoiler in East
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. A. Jefferson (3128)
  2. K. Durant (3087)
  3. D. Wade (3017)
  4. D. Rose (2844)
  5. L. James (2702)
  1. J. Noah (2642)
  2. K. Bryant (2549)
  3. A. Bogut (2353)
  4. S. Curry (2204)
  5. D. Howard (2181)