Much ado about 'no homo'
There are people on various ends of the spectrum regarding Hibbert's comments. The part where he refers to the media as 'you mother***ers' is pretty much a wrap. He said in the interview that he doesn't care if he gets fined for saying that, and trust me... he will.
The real issue is with him saying 'no homo' later in the interview. That's where many people differ on how it should be handled.
Some people are saying that Hibbert should be suspended for his anti-gay remarks.
Others (mostly on Twitter) are going so far as to say that Hibbert's comments weren't anti-gay at all.
The truth (and the most reasonable and proper response) lies somewhere in the middle.
There's really no logical rationale for saying that the phrase 'no homo,' in the context that it was used, isn't anti-gay. 'No homo' is a pretty common saying, generally used by young men who have said something that could be twisted or misconstrued into a sexual innuendo. They follow the near-innuendo by saying 'no homo,' to clarify that they weren't talking about homosexual activity.
The insinuation, of course, is that they believe homosexuality is an undesirable concept, and they want to distance themselves from it. That, by its very nature, is anti-gay.
With David Stern pledging to make the NBA a place where homosexuals wouldn't feel threatened and could be free to be themselves, the NBA clearly has to do something about this. They can't simply stand idly by and let it happen without some sort of recourse.
However, a suspension would be completely out of line and over the top, based on precedents that the league has set in the past.
In 2011, Kobe Bryant called a referee a 'faggot.' He was fined $100,000.
Hibbert's comments, in my opinion, are not quite as offensive as that. However, Kobe was basically caught on camera during a game, and people could tell what he said by reading his lips. Hibbert, on the other hand, made his comment at a press conference during the Eastern Conference Finals. The stage was much bigger.
If the NBA were to suspend Hibbert for game 7 of the ECF, it would go completely against the precedent that was set when Kobe was fined. It might be appropriate for Stern to specify that future comments of this ilk will be met with suspensions, but to suspend Hibbert would be unjust, in this case, based on the precedent that was set with Kobe.
Not only would it fly in the face of the precedent, it would also punish the Pacers and their fans more than it would punish Hibbert himself. It would also reflect poorly on the league, as it could be viewed as an attempt to ensure that the Miami Heat make the NBA Finals. That's obviously what the league wants anyway, since LeBron James and the Heat are a much bigger media draw than the Pacers, and a Spurs-Pacers Finals would likely bring disastrous TV ratings.
In order to be fair to Hibbert and also to fans of the league as a whole, the NBA absolutely CAN'T suspend Hibbert for this.
Since the comment wasn't quite as harsh, but the stage was larger than Kobe's comment, I personally believe it would be appropriate to match the $100,000 fine that was levied against Bryant. Then, on top of that, the league should apply an additional and completely unrelated fine for his use of profanity during the interview. They should, however, make sure that it's assessed and announced separately, since it's a completely different issue.
What are your thoughts on how the league should react?
In case you missed it, here are the videos from Hibbert's interview: