Noah’s rough Sunday includes one point, gay slur

By Adam Silverstein
May 23, 2011

Post updated at 5:25 p.m.

Sunday was not the best night for Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah.

Facing the Miami Heat in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals, Noah only posted a single point while failing to connect on an attempt from the field, grabbing just five rebounds and dishing six assists.

Additionally, his defense on Heat power forward Chris Bosh was lacking; Bosh scored most of his game-high 34 points on Noah and ended up +15.

“I never got into a rhythm,” he said. “Even if I’m not in an offensive rhythm, I have to bring more. Give Miami credit, they played well. But we can get better.”

However, what Noah will actually be remembered for from Sunday’s game is not his poor performance but rather something he said while on the bench. He apparently directed a gay slur at a heckler in the pro-Miami crowd who was repeatedly taunting him.

Note: The video below contains explicit, inflammatory language.

Like Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant received a few weeks ago, Noah will likely be handed down a fine from the NBA league office for the slur. Bryant uttered a similar phrase to a referee previously in these playoffs.

Noah has since apologized for his actions, something Bryant chose not to do.

“It’s very disappointing. I apologize if I offended anyone,” he said. “I was just caught in the moment. A fan said something that was disrespectful toward me, and I responded. I have to take the consequences like a man. It was just a bad decision on my part.”

UPDATE: Noah has since apologized a second time. “I don’t want to be a distraction for the team, and I apologize for what I said,” he 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. Sometimes fans say things that are a little bit overboard, but still, it’s on us not to react. If you react, they win, and I did. It was a bad decision on my part, and I’m going to face some pretty severe consequences.”

Noah was fined $50,000 Monday evening by the NBA.

The quotes used in this post are courtesy of the Miami Herald and New York Times.


  1. Luke says:

    Only in America do we tolerate athletes using every other swear word, except “gay slurs.” If the league is going to go PC, then start fining players for calling people “nigg@s” too. I went to one NBA game and was surprised by how much swearing and name calling there was, but I guess the NBA only worries about perceived attitudes toward gays…

    • Well other swear words (four-letter F word, for example) do not represent a personal attack at someone’s race or gender. Now you have a point with the N-word, but I bet if a player (white or black) was screaming at a fan or official and used it and was captured on TV doing so, they would be equally fined/lambasted.

      • Luke says:

        The points you make are true. So what about players using “b!tch?” I’d love to hear that someone gets fined for using that because of its perceived misogynistic overtones.

  2. Razzlegator says:

    Maggot is a much better choice of words.

  3. Timmy T says:

    When can we expect the term “redneck” to be included as a “hateful slur”? Can we term people who use the word as being rednephobic?

  4. NYCGatorOX says:

    Adam, Kobe apologized almost immediately.

    • No he didn’t. This non-apology came a day later.

      “What I said last night should not be taken literally. My actions were out of frustration during the heat of the game, period. The words expressed do NOT reflect my feelings towards the gay and lesbian communities and were NOT meant to offend anyone.”

  5. jay d says:

    Although using any slur to directly attack someone is class-less…it shouldn’t cost someone 50 G’s for having a poor choice of words….in my personal opinion I think it sends out a counter productive message to the masses by stating that the gay community is special…if the NBA is going to punish players for slurs it should punish players for all slurrs caught on camera or shouldn’t matter

  6. Jesse C says:

    Where does player/coach fine money go? They should be required to send the fine check to a designated charity.

  7. Mr2Bits says:

    Guess freedom of speech is out the door these days. Guy is being heckled all night and can’t be frustrated? Another example of the pussification of America.

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