Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert reacts during the first half of Game 6 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals against the Miami Heat in Indianapolis, Saturday, June 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
MIAMI (AP) — Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert was fined $75,000 on Sunday by the NBA for using a gay slur and cursing during his news conference after Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Hibbert also apologized for the comments.
“While Roy has issued an apology, which is no doubt sincere, a fine is necessary to reinforce that such offensive comments will not be tolerated by the NBA,” Commissioner David Stern said in a statement.
Earlier Sunday, the team issued a statement from Hibbert in which he said he was sorry for his “insensitive remarks.”
“They were disrespectful and offensive and not a reflection of my personal views,” he said in the statement. “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.”
After Saturday night’s win, Hibbert ended a response to a question about his defense on Miami’s LeBron James with “no homo,” a phrase that implies fear of appearing gay. He also called reporters an offensive term.
Before departing for Miami, where Game 7 will be played Monday night, Pacers coach Frank Vogel told reporters he had already spoken with Hibbert and described the 2012 All-Star center as “contrite.” Players were not available Sunday.
With the series tied at three games apiece and a trip to the NBA Finals at stake Monday, distractions are the last thing this young Pacers squad needs as it tries to prevent the Heat from making what many expected to be a stroll into their third straight NBA Finals. The Pacers have appeared in the finals only once, in 2000, when they lost in six games to the Los Angeles Lakers.
So Vogel did what he could to calm down the brewing controversy while still backing the big man who has given Indiana this chance by routinely beating up the defending NBA champions inside.