When Chicago Bulls big man Joakim Noah was caught on camera cursing out a fan the other night in Game 3 of the NBA's Eastern Conference Final, it illustrated one of my pet peeves about televised sports.
Noah was fined $50,000 for an anti-gay slur. I have no problem with that. The intense Noah said the fan yelled something Noah perceived to be "disrepectful." Probably so: the things NBA fans yell at players these days -- even players standing a few feet away -- would make a drill sergeant blush. But Noah stepped way over the line with his response.
My problem with the whole incident is this: why do the TV cameras have to linger on the athletes in these situations?
In this case, Noah had just picked up his second foul in the first quarter on a borderline call. He stalked to the bench, obviously upset.
Which is when the TNT cameras chose to show a close-up of him seething for several seconds before eventually lashing out at the fan heckling him.
Hey, TNT, look at the combination you had at that moment: big-time pressurized situation, intense, volatile athlete, questionable call by the refs.