After Amar'e Stoudemire admitted to sending a direct message on Twitter that contained a gay slur, the NBA announced Tuesday that the league has fined him $50,000 for the offense. The New York Times' Howard Beck was first with the news on Twitter, and the news of Stoudemire's offense first came to light earlier this week thanks to a post at Deadspin.
Even before the NBA handed down punishment, Stoudemire had apologized to the fan, saying there were "No excuses" for the language he used and adding, "It won't happen again." But considering Kobe Bryant earned a $100,000 fine for being caught mouthing the same slur on TV, it's not surprising that the NBA would levy a stiff punishment regardless, even after taking Stoudemire's apology into account and understanding that Amar'e had no intention of his remarks being made public.
The controversy began when a fan on Twitter lashed out at Amar'e, saying, "you better come back a lot stronger and quicker to make up for this past season mannnnnn deadasss.'' Then Stoudemire sent the fan a private message, saying, "F**k you, I don't have to do any thing, f*g,."
Not the proudest moment for Amar'e, who ended his season with that disgraceful fire extinguisher moment and struggled throughout the season with injuries. Maybe this was just a case of Amar'e getting hit with criticism at the wrong time, and frustration boiling over. The message was meant to be private, too -- and likely would've stayed that way had the heckling fan's story not made Deadspin.
Either way, the NBA has a zero tolerance policy for this sort of language, and $50,000 for a tweet certainly makes a strong statement. Clearly, the league wants to draw a line here.
Even if it (maybe) makes Stoudemire the victim of new media's harsh reality and an image-conscious league office, the NBA drawing that line is probably a good thing for everyone. Here's hoping it's a learning experience, not only for Amar'e, but for the rest of the league, too.