MIAMI (Reuters) - Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert was fined $75,000 by the National Basketball Association (NBA) on Sunday after a post-game press conference outburst which included an anti-gay slur.
Hibbert scored 24 points as the Pacers beat the Miami Heat 91-77 on Saturday to force a deciding game seven in South Florida on Monday but the 26-year-old responded with a rant in the televised press conference.
Hibbert used the phrase “no homo” to describe his play and also attacked the media, using foul language when asked to discuss his low place in voting for the Defensive Player of the Year.
The league said in a statement that Hibbert had used “inappropriate and vulgar language”.
Before the fine, Hibbert had issued an apology on the Pacer’s official website.
“I am apologizing for insensitive remarks made during the postgame press conference after our victory over Miami Saturday night,” read Hibbert’s statement.
“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,” he said.
The NBA noted Hibbert’s statement but said he still deserved a fine.
“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,” said commissioner David Stern.
After the press conference, Hibbert sent a tweet to fellow NBA player Jason Collins, who in April became the first active player in the league to come out as a gay.
“Hey can I get a follow? Would like to discuss somethings with you,” read the tweet from Hibbert which was later deleted.
Reporting By Simon Evans; editing by Julian Linden