Joel Embiid fined $25,000 for flipping off Kevin Huerter, dropping F-bomb in interview
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid has been fined $25,000 for making an obscene gesture directed at Atlanta Hawks shooting guard Kevin Huerter at the end of a 129-112 Sixers victory on Monday, as well as using profane language in a postgame on-court interview, the NBA announced Wednesday.
Embiid’s prior conduct also played a role in the punishment:
NBA Executive VP Kiki VanDeWeghe says Embiid's "profane language" during his postgame interview also played a factor, and, "the amount of Embiid's fine also reflects his multiple prior violations of acceptable on-court decorum." https://t.co/nOGCC2oEG3
— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) February 26, 2020
Embiid trotted out 49 points in the win, but was stripped from behind by Huerter in the dying seconds of the game as the Hawks swingman tried to prevent the Sixers big man from reaching the 50-point mark.
Embiid argued his intent was only to cross half court, and he flipped off Huerter as a reaction to what he thought was poor sportsmanship, considering his team went on to shoot the ball with less than 24 seconds left in regulation.
The Sixers big man apologized for his actions toward Huerter and his use of profanity during the postgame interview, having explained his reasoning for doing so:
“There’s always this thing about you shouldn’t shoot the ball if you’re up 20 or something like that. And I feel like it should go both ways,” said Embiid after the game, according to Paul Hudrick of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I’m running the clock down and I feel like the game is over. That’s why I’m doing it. But to me, if the other team is gonna keep playing defense, and they’re gonna keep shooting the ball at the other end, I feel like we should just be like, ‘Well, be better next time,’ and just go out and score.
Embiid would have another chance to go for 50 after grabbing a defensive rebound, but the Sixers star walked it out, yet still irate at Huerter’s actions:
“I thought about it when I had the ball again, but I was like, I’m gonna stay cool,” he said. “But I feel like it should go both ways. If the team up by 21 is running the clock off, I feel like the other team should also respect it. We just moved on, but it is what it is and we got the win. That’s all I care about.”
It seems it’s just water under the bridge now, but the NBA made sure to properly discipline Embiid for something they viewed as poor on-court decorum.