Despite having apologized for hurling
an anti-gay slur at a fan, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah is facing
criticism from gay rights groups.
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 on Sunday.
“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.”
While acknowledging Noah's apology,
GLAAD president Jarred Barrios urged the NBA to take action.
"Noah's apology is a start,"
Barrios said. "We are confident that the NBA will now take
disciplinary measures and hasten its work with us to tell all players
that there is no place for anti-gay words and attitudes in the game."
Joe Solmonese, president of Human
Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay rights group, suggested
that Noah had set back a nascent effort to rid homophobia in
“We need to get to a point where you
don’t use an anti-gay slur to respond to events. It’s just plain
unacceptable,” Solmonese said in a statement. “At a time when
the NBA and a growing number of pro-athletes are publicly standing up
for equality, it’s too bad Mr. Noah worked against their efforts
last night. That said, we’re pleased he quickly realized the error
of his ways and apologized.”
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 during Sunday night's telecast.
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