Hibbert fined $75K for Inappropriate Postgame Comments
Roy Hibbert had just scored over 20 points for the fifth straight game. He had been a big reason why the Pacers forced a Game 7 with a 91-77 win Saturday night. He had been key reason why the Miami Heat were limited to 77 points and 32 percent shooting inside the paint, their lowest conversion rate since the Big Three united.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel had just spoke so highly of Hibbert’s game — or series, for that matter — saying that he’s “playing the best basketball of his career right now. He’s leading us, and he’s a big reason why we are where we are.”
With eyes around the world watching the postgame press conference, Hibbert went outside the lines with his comments. And for his use of inappropriate and vulgar language, he was fined $75,000 by the NBA late Sunday.
“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 NBA Commissioner David Stern in a release.
His inappropriate comment came when he and Paul George were asked about his charge on LeBron James.
“I really felt that I let Paul down [in Game 3] in terms of having his back when LeBron was scoring in the post or getting to the paint, because they stretched me out so much, no h—.”
Those final two words were out of bounds and he knew it. That wasn’t all.
Three questions later, Hibbert was asked by a national reporter how it was possible that he finished 10th in the Defensive Player of the Year voting (done by the media). It was a perfect opportunity for Hibbert, with cameras focused, basketball fans staring at their high-definition TV’s and reporters with pen in hand, to speak about his defensive play and their league-leading defense. Instead, he had a regretful moment.
“You know what, because y’all mother f—— don’t watch us play throughout the year, to tell you the truth,” he said boldly. “That’s fine. I’m going to be real with you. And I don’t care if I get fined. You know what, we play, we’re not on TV all the time. Reporters are the ones that are voting. And it is what it is. If I don’t make it, that’s fine. I’m still going to do what I have to do.”
George agreed, adding “Well said” as the two walked down the steps of the podium and back into the locker room.
With more viewers comes more responsibility, and Hibbert made a mistake that cost him, literally. His use of “no h—” to finish his response came across as a goofy Hibbert trying to garner laughs. He smiled right after he said it. Then, he gave a genuine answer (and probably one his teammates appreciated) to the final question posed. The language, however, isn’t something the NBA will tolerate.
Sunday morning, Hibbert issued the following statement through the team:
“I am apologizing for insensitive remarks made during the postgame press conference after our victory over Miami Saturday night. 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.”
Before catching the team charter to Miami, Vogel addressed Hibbert’s remarks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
“He obviously made a great mistake,” Vogel said. “He’s very contrite, feels horribly about it. But I talked to him and just basically said we’ve got to move on from it.
“I know he’s not that person to do something like that or use those words, you know, and that it was a mistake. He knows he’s wrong. I don’t have to tell him he’s wrong. He knows that. Just to understand we all love him, and we’re going to help him move past it very quickly.”
On TNT’s postgame show held in the IU Health Entry Pavilion, four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal looked directly into the camera and provided Hibbert, who’s in his fifth season, with a free tip.
“Roy, that little attitude you had right there, bring it to Game 7.”