Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert issued an apology through the team’s website Sunday morning for using a gay slur in one answer to a question and for cursing in another following the Pacers’ 91-77 victory over the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Hibbert responded to one question during his news conference about his defense on LeBron James with “no homo.”
“The momentum could have shifted right there if [James] got an easy dunk,” Hibbert said. “There was what ‑‑ was it Game 3 here? I really felt that I let Paul down 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 homo.”
And later in the late-night news conference, Hibbert was asked why he finished so low in voting for Defensive Player of the year, he responded to that question with:
“Y’all m————- don’t watch us play throughout the year to tell you the truth,” Hibbert said. “So that’s fine. I’m going to be real with you, and I don’t care if I get fined. We play and we’re not on TV all of the time and reporters are the ones that are voting and it is what it is. And I don’t make it, that’s fine. I’m still going to do what I have to do.”
Hibbert finished 10th in the Defensive Player of the Year award, won by Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol.
Hibbert issued an apology early Sunday morning.
“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.”
Hibbert also reached out to Jason Collins via Twitter hours after the comment. Jason Collins became the first openly game active male athlete in one of the major sports in April when he came out in a Sports Illustrated column.
“Hey can I get a follow,” Hibbert’s tweet read. “Would like to discuss something’s with you.”
Pacers coach Frank Vogel had this to say about Hibbert’s comments.
“I just talked to him,” Vogel said, “and he obviously made a great mistake. He’s very contrite; he feels horribly about it. But I talked to him and basically said, ‘We’ve got to move on from it. I know you feel terrible and, you know, you want to take words back but you issued your statement and you’ve got to move on from it, get your focus for Game 7.'”