The NBA fined Chicago Bulls big man Joakim Noah $50,000 for calling a fan “faggot” during Sunday’s Eastern Conference Finals game against the Miami Heat. Noah apologized immediately after the game. Kobe Bryant of the Lakers was fined twice as much in April for directing the same word at a referee.

Bryant, however, makes more than three times his fine in one regular season game and was borderline offensive in his initial apology, warning gays and anyone else who might be put out not to misunderstand him.

Noah will make just over $3 million this season. — PZS

The New York Times:

Noah made the comment when he returned to the bench after drawing his second foul in the first quarter. He said the fan taunted him, but did not specify what the fan said. The broadcast by TNT captured Noah’s response on camera.

“I don’t want to be a distraction for the team, and I apologize for what I said,” Noah said Monday. “What I said wasn’t right. I don’t want to disrespect anybody. That’s not what I’m about. I just got caught up in something a fan said and I went back at him, and I’m going to face the consequences as a man.”

It was the N.B.A.’s second high-profile incident of a player using the derogatory slur in two months. The N.B.A. fined Kobe Bryant $100,000 in April for using the same slur toward the referee Bennie Adams just days before the start of the playoffs. Bryant’s fine was twice as much as Noah’s because Bryant “verbally abused an official,” according to the league.

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