The N.B.A. fined Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards $40,000 on Tuesday for anti-gay remarks that he made in an Instagram video that circulated online this month.
In the video, which has since been deleted from his account, Edwards used homophobic language to describe a group of people he was filming as they stood on a sidewalk. Edwards has 1.2 million followers on Instagram.
Edwards, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 N.B.A. draft, used his Twitter account to apologize on Sept. 11.
“What I said was immature, hurtful and disrespectful, and I’m incredibly sorry,” he said in a post. “It’s unacceptable for me or anyone to use that language in such a hurtful way, there’s no excuse for it, at all. I was raised better than that!”
The N.B.A. said in a statement that Edwards had been fined for using “offensive and derogatory language on social media.”
Entering his third N.B.A. season, Edwards is one of the league’s rising stars. Last season, he averaged 21.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game while helping lead the Timberwolves to the playoffs for the first time since the 2017-18 season.
On Sept. 12, Tim Connelly, the Timberwolves’ president of basketball operations, released a statement through the team, saying he was “disappointed” in Edwards’s actions.
“The Timberwolves are committed to being an inclusive and welcoming organization for all and apologize for the offense this has caused to so many,” Connelly said.
The league has typically fined players for using profane or homophobic language.
In 2021, for example, Kevin Durant of the Nets was fined $50,000 for using homophobic and misogynistic language in a private social media exchange with the actor Michael Rapaport, who then publicly shared screenshots of some of the conversation.
N.B.A. teams regularly have Pride nights to celebrate the L.G.B.T.Q. community. But Jason Collins, who came out in 2013, is still the only active N.B.A. player to have said that he is gay, feeding the perception that there remains a stigma about homosexuality in men’s professional sports.
Bill Kennedy, an N.B.A. referee, said that he was gay in 2015, not long after guard Rajon Rondo, then with the Sacramento Kings, directed a gay slur at him during a game. Rondo was suspended one game for his conduct.
Six months later, Kennedy represented the N.B.A. on its float at the New York City Pride March. The N.B.A. and the W.N.B.A. have since become staples of the parade, one of the largest in the world. Players, referees and officials from both leagues have taken part.