One of the playoffs’ breakout stars, Hibbert was subsequently fined $75,000 for using the gay slur in one answer and the word “motherfuckers” in another. After receiving the fine, he said:
“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.”
Hibbert’s misstep is the latest in what’s becoming a long line of NBA players using, and then being punished for, slurs like this. In April 2011, Kobe Bryant called a ref a “faggot” and was fined $100,000; a month later, Joakim Noah did the same and was fined $50,000. Hibbert’s punishment falls between the two and shows that, in the wake of basketball player Jason Collins becoming the first active professional athlete in any of the major American sports to come out as gay, the NBA continues to have zero patience for any anti-gay language on the part of its players.