When Does Heckling Turn to Abuse?

When Does Heckling Turn to Abuse?

What Joakim Noah said was wrong.

He deserved to be fined $50,000 for directing a gay slur at a Heat fan who was heckling him from behind the Chicago Bulls' bench.

Let's make that clear right from the top.

Even Noah admitted as much in accepting blame again Monday afternoon.

"I said the wrong thing," Noah said, "and I'm going to deal with the consequences like a man."

But there's a larger issue here in the wake of this lingering controversy, one that goes well beyond Noah's ability to control his emotions Tuesday in Game 4 or the Heat's ability to capitalize on the distraction.

This whole episode has me wondering again how much abuse professional athletes must take just because they're the ones making millions of dollars. And why do some people feel the need to take out their frustrations on these famous strangers?

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