After the Indiana Pacers’ 91-77 win over the Miami Heat, Hibbert was asked how it was possible that he, as a strong defensive player, only finished 10th in Defensive Player of the Year voting. He responded by calling the media a bunch of “motherf—ers” who don’t watch the Pacers play during the regular season. Hibbert also raised eyebrows by dropping the street phrase “no homo” after saying something that could otherwise be construed as sounding homosexual.
The Pacers center apologized on Sunday for the “no homo” reference.
“I am apologizing for insensitive remarks made during the postgame press conference after our victory over Miami Saturday night. They were disrespectful and offensive and not a reflection of my personal views. I used a slang term that is not appropriate in any setting, private or public, and the language I used definitely has no place in a public forum, especially over live television. I apologize to those who I have offended, to our fans and to the Pacers’ organization. I sincerely have deep regret over my choice of words last night,” Hibbert said in a statement released by the team.
The NBA still decided to fine him for “using inappropriate and vulgar language.”
The hefty fine indicates three things to me. One, you can’t curse when the league is streaming press conferences live on the web. Two, the NBA is showing that it is taking a strong anti-homophobia stance (as are many other organizations). Three, it shows that the setting in which something is said matters greatly. Had Hibbert said that after a regular season game and it didn’t receive much attention, there likely would not have been much done. But since he said it during the Eastern Conference finals with all the media in attendance, it received notoriety, leading to the strong response from the league. That’s the same reason Joakim Noah and Kobe Bryant were fined so much for using gay slurs — they said in during nationally-televised games.