Monday morning, the NBA fined Joakim Noah $50,000 for “using a derogatory and offensive term” toward a fan from the bench during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals Sunday night.
Some people are probably thinking, “Was Noah’s punishment just?”
Well, here’s my take.
For those of you that think Noah should’ve been suspended, please rethink that possibility. Kobe Bryant was in heat for a gay slur toward a referee after Bryant was issued a technical during a game against the San Antonio Spurs in April. Bryant was fined $100,000 and was NOT suspended.
In Noah’s case, he was provoked by the ‘fan.’ I’m not saying it’s ok to disrespect anyway with an anti-gay slur, but just to see it from the other side. There are shades of gray in this situation.
Noah apologized immediately and realized his mistake. Even though he will be judged because of this, the point is that he understood that his choice of words was wrong and that his emotions got the best of him.
“I just want to apologize; I had just picked up my second foul. I was frustrated. He said something that was disrespectful toward me, and I lost my cool. People who know me know I’m an open-minded guy. I’m not here to hurt anybody’s feelings. I’m just here to help win a basketball game. Sometimes fans say things that are overboard. But it’s on us not to react. If you react, they win. And I did. It was a bad decision on my part.” – Joakim Noah’s apology and explaination
Several of Noah’s teammates have said that the fan used profanity regarding Noah’s mother among other insults. And his teammates defended Noah without hesitation.
“What Jo said is something out of frustration; he has to do a better job of controlling his emotion. But that fan should have been thrown out of the game way before. He just kept going at him and in an emotional game like that, and things not going Jo’s way, it’s just human nature to react. I know Jo, and I know he didn’t mean what he said at all.” – Luol Deng defending teammate Joakim Noah
Bryant’s fine was larger because it also “included discipline of a game official.”
This has been handled and the case should be closed. Both sides were wrong and Noah is paying the price. He understands that he went about it the wrong way, but what’s done is done. The media should’ve looked at it from both sides instead of just assuming that Noah was some kind of monster. The Bulls still have a series to play against Miami and can’t afford to lose any focus. This is basketball. This is the Playoffs.