May 23, 2011, 5:45 PM EST
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.
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