Looks like the wheels of the machine spin fast when the world's paying attention — New York Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire has been fined $50,000 by NBA Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Stu Jackson "for using offensive and derogatory language in a Twitter message," the league announced Tuesday afternoon.
The fine stems from an incident that took place Saturday, when Stoudemire responded to a jab from a Twitter follower by sending the follower a direct message that included vulgarity and a gay slur. Stoudemire later apologized for the slur, and issued a statement reiterating his apology after news of the fine broke Tuesday, according to Howard Beck of The New York Times.
After Stoudemire told his Twitter followers on Saturday morning that he had just finished a lengthy workout, a self-proclaimed Knicks fan who tweets under the username @BFerrelli responded that the six-time All-Star "better come back a lot stronger and quicker to make up for this past season."
Stoudemire replied to @BFerrelli with an off-color direct message: "F*** you. I don't have to do any thing f**,"
Unable to respond to Stoudemire privately — you can only send a Twitter direct message to someone who is following you and, shock of shocks, Stoudemire was not following @BFerrelli — the fan chose to take a screenshot of Stat's direct message and broadcast it to the world.
It made the rounds quickly, resulting in coverage by multiple blogs (including this one) and news outlets, which led to an NBA spokesman telling Newsday's Al Iannazzone that the league would review the incident with an eye toward punishment.
Stoudemire later sent @BFerrelli a follow-up direct message apologizing for the incident, which the fan accepted. The fan then asked Stoudemire to follow him and/or send him Knicks tickets.
Stoudemire's fine matches the $50,000 penalty levied against Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah during the 2010-11 playoffs when he was caught on camera screaming the word "f****t" to shout down a heckling fan. One month earlier, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant received a $100,000 fine after he was caught on camera lobbing the same word at referee Bennie Adams in disagreement with a call.
Stoudemire averaged 17.5 points and 7.8 rebounds for New York this season, his lowest marks since his 2002-03 rookie season with the Phoenix Suns. He missed 19 games due to injury and famously injured himself during the Knicks' first-round playoff loss to the Miami Heat by lashing out in frustration, punching a fire extinguisher case in the bowels of AmericanAirlines Arena, and badly lacerating his hand.
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