I kind of can't believe it's only been a week since Joakim Noah's ejection in Game 2 of his Chicago Bulls' Eastern Conference semifinals matchup with the Miami Heat. It feels like way more time has passed between Noah getting the gate, a certain upset blonde Heat backer deciding to express her displeasure with the Bulls big man, her middle-finger salute going viral, the world learning her name is Filomena Tobias and the world going on to learn that she has what you might call a complicated backstory. (I guess the playoff schedule has a way of stretching things out.)
Well, if it's seemed like a long time to me, I can only imagine what kind of week it's been for Tobias. After initially saying she didn't want to comment on the incident and that those interested in it "need to get a life," according to her daughter, she's now decided to apologize, sort of, while also taking those of us who've written about it all to task.
In a statement issued to noted basketball resource Jose Lambiet's Gossip Extra by her attorney, Anthony Barbuto, Tobias copped to making an "ill-mannered" gesture, but remains upset by the subsequent "very ugly and despicable intrusion" into her personal and legal history:
“Ms. Tobias has been a devoted Miami Heat fan for as long as she can remember, and like many other devoted fans, she unfortunately allowed her passion for the team to disregard proper fan etiquette. She is only human, and her emotions got the best of her,” Barbuto wrote after consulting with Tobias.
“She offers her genuine apologies to anyone she has offended, and she requests that her privacy, as well as the privacy of her family, be respected at this time.”
“Ms. Tobias is distressed at the needless national attention this incident has garnered and the unwarranted invasion of privacy by the press into her personal life, including the malicious and untrue reporting about her husband’s tragic passing,” Barbuto’s statement reads.
On one hand, you can certainly understand Tobias being somewhat less than thrilled that this incident dredged up myriad allegations, since withdrawn by her late husband's brothers and never charged by police, that don't make her look so great. On the other, the only reason anyone ever went looking for any of those things in the first place is because she went out of her way to make a scene by angrily shoving her finger about an inch from the face of a professional athlete because of, I guess, reasons? I'm all for not blaming victims, but I'm not sure that having what appears to be a loose definition of "only human" and "passion for the team" necessarily makes you a victim.
However, in the interest of avoiding such incidents in the future, let's all make a deal. You avoid getting in people's faces and giving the finger in public, and we'll quit doing Internet searches for your name and letting people know if a massive New York magazine feature story was ever written about the bizarre circumstances and aftermath of a rich man's death that prominently involves you. Deal? Deal.
One last note from Barbuto's statement: “With that said, Ms. Tobias remains loyal to the Miami Heat.”
We congratulate Ms. Tobias on the Heat's Wednesday night victory over the Chicago Bulls, and hope she enjoyed watching her favorite team advance to its third consecutive Eastern Conference final.
Hat-tip to ProBasketballTalk's Dan Feldman.
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