Noah apologizes for anti-gay insult to fan

Reuters News
Posted: May 23, 2011 12:23 AM

By Simon Evans

MIAMI (Reuters) - Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah has apologized for an anti-gay slur made to a Miami Heat fan during his team's 96-85 playoff defeat on Sunday.

Noah appeared to make an almost identical comment as the one Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant used to a referee last month - Bryant was fined $100,000 by the NBA.

"I apologize," Noah told reporters. "The fan said something to me that I thought was disrespectful, and I got caught up in the moment, and I responded.

"I said some things that I shouldn't have said. I was frustrated and I didn't mean any disrespect to anybody."

While NBA officials declined to comment on the incident on Sunday, the league has taken a strong stance since the Bryant incident, which was heavily criticized by gay rights groups.

During Sundays' game, the league broadcast commercials featuring players urging fans not to use slang terms for gays as insults.

New York born Noah is the son of former French tennis player Yannick Noah.

(Editing by Patrick Johnston)