Homophobia in the sports world is a given. Unfortunately, athletes in all major sports still prefer to use homophobic and derogatory terms towards other players, and especially towards referees. The NBA is under scrutiny now as Taj Gibson was ejected from Wednesday’s game where the Miami Heat wiped the floor with the injury-riddled Chicago Bulls. Gibson was ejected and upon his exit, he called the referee than booted him a gay slur.
Let’s take a look at a timeline for how the NBA has dealt with gay slurs in the past. Keep in mind the only reason that these incidents made the headlines is because they all squeaked onto national television, where everyone is a good lip-reader.
April, 2011 — Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 for calling referee a gay slur, but the Los Angeles Laker did not receive a technical foul for the act.
May, 2011 — Joakim Noah was fined $50,000 for looking towards a fan and calling him a gay slur, accompanied by a few F-bombs.
May, 2013 — Taj Gibson is fined $25,000 for calling referee a gay slur, Gibson was reacting to a suspect technical foul.
After glancing at this timeline, it looks like the NBA has taken the wrong path towards penalizing players for their use of derogatory terms. In light of the Collins story, I figured the NBA would take a much tougher stance on this, but apparently a suspension was too much and a chump change fine of $25,000 gets the job done.
I understand Gibson was apologetic after the game, yet how is the NBA supposed to set a precedent against these hurtful terms?
Commissioner David Stern has tried his best to turn the game of basketball into a family affair, so why isn’t he taking a stronger stance when it comes to homophobic terms?