Same gay slur, different NBA player.
Last night in Miami, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah hurled a gay slur at a Heat fan who was heckling him. TNT’s broadcast caught Noah’s side of the exchange on camera:
Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant directed the same gay slur at a referee earlier this season. It was also caught on camera, and he received a $100,000 fine in the incident. One can only assume that Noah will receive a similarly heavy fine for violating league policy.
For his part, Noah was contrite after the game:
“A fan said something, and I said something back. I apologized. I don't know what's going to happen. I got caught up. I didn't mean any disrespect to anybody.”
Expect the NBA to come down hard on Noah, perhaps levying a Kobe-esque fine against him.
But what about the network that covers the game and makes hay of the verbal grenade? Does TNT bear some responsibility for amplifying a reckless comment to a huge national audience? If the mouthing of a word on TV is so abhorrent, why are they airing it? (The network also aired Kobe’s gay slur last month.)
If the league is going to fine Noah, should the FCC fine the station that broadcast it? Then again, would these players be so apologetic if they weren’t caught on camera?
We’re walking a fine line between sensitivity and censorship, and that line seems to be zigzagging.