Thursday, May 26, 2011

NBA Player Joakim Noah Fined $50,000 for his Anti-Gay Slur: How The NBA is trying to do the right thing, one teachable moment (and fine) at a time

Okay, here's the scoop: after Kobe Bryan's anti-gay slur at an official during a game (and resulting $100,000 fine), the coming out as gay of NBA team president Rick Welts, and the new PSAs by the NBA about how anti-gay slurs aren't cool (the last video below), Chicago Bulls player Joakim Noah called a fan a 'f-bomb f-word.'

The NBA's response? A $50,000 fine.

Which I think is great. While his 2011 salary is listed as $3,128,536, the price of a 'nice' car seems like it's at least an acknowledgement that anti-gay words will NOT be tolerated.

I keep wondering what if schools had a similar policy - and while the currency of school isn't money, but grades, what if your grades in every subject across the board dropped one letter if you used an anti-gay slur? Call someone an 'f-bomb f-word' and your B average becomes a C average for that entire semester. If the offenders are jocks who have to keep a certain GPA to play their sport, it might make them realize that there are consequences they care about. Not to stereotype jocks, if participating in extra-curriculars are the currency (from yearbook to debate) figure out what that person's currency is and make it cost.

In fact, making people who spew anti-gay hate speech accountable is a huge part of turning the tide on prejudice of all kinds, and really is a Homophobia Smack-Down.

I'm glad Joakim apologized, but I'm even more glad he was fined. Because with all this negative publicity, and with the penalty, I bet you the next time he gets pissed off at someone, he'll hesitate before those words come out of his mouth again.

Anti-Gay Slurs are NOT acceptable. And I'm so glad the NBA has finally recognized their responsibility to stand up against this, and to change the sport, and our world, for the better!

Here's some video for you:

The Slur: This video shows Jokaim yelling the slur, and his mouth isn't blurred out - be aware you can read his lips and figure out exactly what he said:

The Punishment:

The Apology: Interesting, this one afterwards during the analysis talks about how Noah ended up having a terrible game. I wonder, since the slur happened in the first quarter, if Noah was concerned about what the consequences of his anti-gay moment would be. If he was thinking about Kobe being fined $100,000. If that contributed to his head not being 'in the game.' It's nice to see that there was a cost beyond financial and PR-wise... it cost him focus and resulted in a really low-scoring game for him. Oh, and Noah's team, the Chicago bulls, ended up losing that game to the Miami Heat, 96-85. With Noah scoring 11 points less than in a regular season game, he may very well have COST his team the game. 11 points would have tied them up.

Did the slur cost his team the game? Could it cost them the championship? We'll see...

Overall, it's a teachable moment for everyone in the sport.

And here's the NBA's new public service announcement:

I'm going to be making that buzzer sound the next time I hear anti-gay language! EAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!


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