By Herb Gould
Calling his $50,000 fine for responding to an abusive fan with an anti-gay slur “fair,” Joakim Noah said he wanted to put the incident behind him and concentrate on helping the Bulls advance their playoff cause.
“It’s fair,” Noah said. “I made a mistake. I’ll learn from it and move on.”
Asked about being receiving a lower fine than Kobe Bryant, who was fined $100,000 for making an anti-gay remark to a referee, Noah said that didn’t matter to him.
“I didn’t really know what my fine would be,” he said. “I was just ready to face the consequences and move on and get ready four this game. I don’t want to be a distraction to this team.”
What was on Noah’s mind was helping the Bulls find a way to win Game 4 and even up this Eastern Conference final.
“It’s the biggest game of the year,” Noah said. “Winning this game and going back to Chicago for Game 5, that’s what we want.”
The Bulls center said he wasn’t thinking about the reception he might receive at American Airlines Arena. Nor did he put in a request for extra security around the Bulls’ bench.
“That’s the last of my worries, to be honest,” Noah said. “I’m not worried about extra security at all.”
THE KING’S TAKE
LeBron James, who has taken his share of abuse from heckling fans, sympathized with Noah and the situation.
“It’s unfortunate,” James said. “I don’t think Joakim is that person. Like he said, he’s not that guy. He made a mistake and he’s paying the price for it.
“All of us understnad there are times when you become emotional. Things get said that you don’t mean. You just have to be more careful. Understand that there are kids watching, people watching, that look up to us as a role model.”
ABUSE ELUDES ROSE
While highly supportive of Noah in his moment of controversy, Derrick Rose said he doesn’t take the same kind of abuse.
“I don’t get that type of stuff,” Rose, one of the NBA’s most popular players, said when asked the worst insult hurled his way. “If anything, people say the SAT thing, and that’s about it. I laugh it off.”
The SAT taunt is a reference to allegations of improprieites on Rose’s SAT score, allegations that landed Memphis, where he played college ball, in NCAA hot water.