As you’ve probably read elsewhere, the Bulls’ Joakim Noah was fined $50K by the NBA for uttering a homophobic slur in the direction of a Miami Heat fan during Sunday’s Game 3 loss, an incident that had some wondering why the punishment was half the amount of Kobe Bryant’s recent penalty for a similar infraction, while others questioned the behavior of the fan that allegedly provoked the Chicago center. True Hoop’s openly gay Kevin Arnovitz had an altogether more unique approach to the incident, however — how about asking Noah just what he was thinking and perhaps try to foster something in the realm of greater understanding? When Noah protests that dropping an F-bomb “is not who I am”, full credit to Arnovitz for asking to the former Gator’s face, “who are you?”
Noah: You know, all my best friends live downtown in New York City. I was made in Soho. Sometimes, when you’re at this level you don’t realize the consequences or how much a word can bother people. My mom’s best friend was gay. We used to call him “Mom.” So I’m disappointed because that’s not me. I didn’t mean any harm to anybody. I don’t want anyone to feel disrespected by what I said, and I understand that’s what’s going to happen.
Arnovitz: F—– is one of those words people claim doesn’t mean gay man. That somehow it’s not denigrating to gay men because it’s generic. Do you fall in that camp? Do you use f—– because there’s nothing more insulting than insinuating someone on the basketball court is gay?
Noah: Sometimes you just get caught up. Now that we’re talking about it and analyzing it, you know, it’s even more disappointing. It’s disappointing because I’m not like that.
Arnovitz: So it’s safe to say you’re really pissed off at yourself? Moderately pissed off at yourself? Pissed off at the potential consequences?
Noah: I’m pissed off that I’m a distraction to my teammates right now. We’re playing the biggest game of our lives and this is off subject. I’m pissed off that I might’ve offended people.
Arnovitz: You realize you did offend people, right?
Noah: That’s what I’m saying.