Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls was fined $50,000 today for yelling an anti-gay slur at a fan during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Sunday in Miami. It was the same two-word phrase used by the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant last month, when he was fined $100,000 for yelling it at referee Bennie Adams during a game against the San Antonio Spurs. Why the difference for the same ugly words? The NBA explained that Bryant’s slur was directed toward a referee and Noah’s was hurled at a fan. So, is the league saying that referees are worth twice as much as fans? I would say the opposite is true. Maybe the league should have said the salaries of the players (Bryant: $24 million; Noah: $3 million) were taken into account. That would probably be the wiser play from a public-relations standpoint. There’s no need to disrespect the fans, the people who pay everyone’s salaries.