The NBA Should Have Suspended Joakim Noah For Anti-Gay Slur


~ Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls has been fined $50,000 for directing an anti-gay slur towards a fan during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat. Noah did admit to the use of the slur and apologized for it as well. Clearly, he knew an expensive fine from the league was on the way. What Noah should’ve gotten along with that fine was a 1 game suspension.

Throughout the playoffs, the NBA has produced PSAs about the use of slurs regarding race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.  Kobe Bryant of the Lakers in a game towards the end of the regular season was caught on national television using a gay slur in the direction of an NBA referee.

 NBA players all saw what happened, and agree or disagree with it, they know what the punishment is going to be if they get caught.

Bryant was fined $100,000 for his actions, so Noah didn’t even get punished to that extent. The fact that Noah’s incident occured so soon after Bryant’s though clearly shows a lack of discipline just as much as it showed a lack of professionalism on his part.

I understand this is basketball and trash talk on and off the court is apart of the game. It’s a very emotional game. Professional athletes have to endure the bad from the fans just as much as they love the good from them. Those bad times can be a test of ones composure. The reality of the situation though is these are also professionals that we are talking about. They are being compensated a lot of money to play this game and should be held accountable for their actions.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) wasted no time to reach out to the NBA about the Noah incident. It did the same with Kobe Bryant.

 Everyone knows going up against GLAAD is not a battle any image-conscious multi-million or multi-billion dollar business would want to take on. It’s a pubilc relations nightmare.The league wasted no time and handed out fines to Bryant and Noah the next day after their incidents.

Giving players a fine for rule violations is one thing, however when it becomes a repeat offense is when it gains the potential to become a pattern. Thats an expensive risk to take for the player, that player’s team, and the league that the team and the player represent. If the message did not get across the first time, what do you do next? Fine the player again? These are multi-million dollar athletes we are talking about!

Eventually a message has to be sent from employer to employee that clearly gets across that certain things just can’t be tolerated. Most fans who have regular 9 to 5 jobs would have been terminated by their employers for that type of conduct. The punishment has to be one where other employees know that such behavior will never be accepted.

I’m not saying Joakim Noah should lose his job. Professional Sports operates a little differently than Corporate America. The tolerance lever is higher. However in this case, the punishment did not fit the crime and a strong enough message was not sent out to the rest of the league.

Fighting had become such a major issue in the league to the point where the Commissioner implemented a stronger punishment for players who were seen leaving the bench to involve themselves. Leave the bench …  it’s now an automatic 1 game suspension … not up for debate. It’s now time for the league to make another major statement. If a player is seen on camera making anti – gay slurs or gestures, don’t just fine them for it anymore … suspend them from their next game.

In the case of Joakim Noah, the punishment would have cost him not only $50,000 it would have also cost him the next playoff game. Noah would have realized that because of his unprofessionalism the team would be punished right along with him.

Here is the reality of the situation as it stands now …

The cameras are always watching the players. They are watching as soon the players step onto the court. Noah is young, however that’s no excuse. The use of Anti-Gay Slurs has been a hot topic across the country for years now. The NBA is realizing just how hot a topic it really is.

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