Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah
apologized Sunday night for hurling an anti-gay slur at a fan.
During game 3 of the Eastern Conference
finals against the Miami Heat, the six-foot-eleven, 26-year-old Noah
was called for a personal foul against LeBron James in the opening
quarter. As TNT's cameras remained fixed on the benched player, he
appeared to shout “faggot” at a fan in Miami's American Airlines
Arena. (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)
“I apologize,” Noah said. “The
fan said something to me that I thought was disrespectful, and I said
some things that I shouldn't have said. I was frustrated and I don't
mean no disrespect to anybody. I just got caught up.”
He added that he expects to be fined
for the outburst.
The incident comes after Los Angeles
Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant was fined $100,00 for using the
same anti-gay slur against referee Bennie Adams last month. Bryant
apologized but added that he'll appeal the fine, prompting
former NBA player John Amaechi, who is gay, to question Bryant's
PSA featuring Phoenix Suns players Grant Hill and Jared Dudley
urging young people not use the word “gay” as an insult was being
broadcast by the NBA.