“Yesterday, I made some comments that were pretty disrespectful after I picked up a second foul,” he said on a video posted to the Bulls’ website. “I came out of the game and a fan said something to me and I was really upset about it and I said some things that I shouldn’t have said.

“I don’t mean to hurt anybody’s feelings. It wasn’t right and I’m going to deal with the consequences.”

Noah was not fined as harshly as Bryant, because Bryant directed his comments toward an NBA official.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) recently began working with the NBA to curb homophobic slurs on and off the court after the Bryant incident. GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios said in a statement that the comments were “unacceptable” but acknowledged Noah’s apology as a positive step.

“Last month the NBA sent an important message about how such slurs fuel a climate of intolerance and are unacceptable,” Barrios said. “These anti-gay remarks, coming so soon after, demonstrate how much needs to be done.

“Noah’s apology is a start. We are confident that the NBA will now take disciplinary measures and hasten its work with us to tell all players that there is no place for anti-gay words and attitudes in the game.”

Gay issues and sports, especially the NBA, have collided in recent weeks. Rick Welts, president and chief executive of the Phoenix Suns, came out two weeks ago and ESPN radio reporter Jared Max came out a few days later. Former star Charles Barkley, now a commentator for TNT, recently said that he played on teams with gay players and so had most players in the league while discussing Welts.

Noah and the Bulls are currently trailing the Miami Heat two games to one in the Eastern Conference Finals. Game four is set for tonight at 8:30 p.m. on TNT.

 

Top photo: Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (via Facebook)

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