(This story was published in 2006).
The cost of calling a fellow NFL player a "fag" is $10,000.
That was the fine levied on Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Joey Porter (left) for what the league called "vulgar, inexcusable statements" against Cleveland Browns tight end Kellen Winslow.
It is believed to be the first time the league has fined a player for making homophobic comments.
The fracas started Dec. 7 after the Steelers beat the Browns, 27-7. Upset at what Porter thought was a Winslow cheap shot against a Steelers teammate, the brash linebacker said: "He's a fag. He tried to dap me up before the game. He's soft though. I don't pay attention to him. … [the hit on the teammate] was late. That's what fags do. He's soft. He wanna be tough but he's really soft. He tried to give me a handshake before the game. He's not my friend, he don't know me. What you trying to shake my hand for? He talk too much and he hadn't done nothing. He threw a cheap shot. He's weak. He's for real weak. He's soft. He might want to play receiver because he don't want to play tight end. He's not gonna block nobody."
Earlier this week, Porter issued a non-apology apology, saying, "I apologize to anybody I offended on it. I didn't mean to offend nobody but Kellen Winslow. Pretty much, that's it about that." In trying to justify his use of language, Porter said it was a common word in his upbringing. "I guess how we used that word freely, me growing up using it, I didn't think nothing of it like that," Porter said.
There have been other instances where NFL players made anti-gay remarks, but those all occurred outside a game environment. In 2003, Detroit Lions President Matt Millen called Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Johnny Morton a "faggot" after a game but was not reprimanded. He also "apologized if I offended anyone." The league told Billy Witz of the Los Angeles Daily News at the time that Millen apologized, was justly criticized for his outburst and a fine would have served no meaningful purpose. The NFL considered it an internal matter for the Lions.
This is Porter's second fine of the season. He was fined $15,000 for remarks he made to an official during a game in Atlanta.