During Tuesday night’s LA Lakers basketball game, televised nationally on TBS, Kobe Bryant called the referee who slapped him with a technical foul a “fucking faggot”. As a result of Kobe‘s inexcusable behavior, many called for his punishment for the offense. In an effort to preempt any punishment he might receive, Kobe issued a public “apology” insisting that he did “NOT meant to offend anyone” … but what did he mean to do by calling the ref a “faggot”? Unimpressed by Kobe‘s apology, NBA Commissioner David Stern fined Bryant $100,000. for the remark making it clear to everyone in the NBA that behavior and language like this will not be tolerated. Despite his apology for the remark, Bryant is now appealing the fine. I guess he’s not so sorry after all.
Kobe Bryant has issued a statement about his homophobic outburst during last night’s Lakers game — essentially admitting to using the word “faggot” and explaining, “What I said last night should not be taken literally. My actions were out of frustration during the heat of the game, period. The words expressed do NOT reflect my feelings towards the gay and lesbian communities and were NOT meant to offend anyone.”
NBA Commissioner David Stern says, “Kobe Bryant’s comment during last night’s game was offensive and inexcusable. While I’m fully aware that basketball is an emotional game, such a distasteful term should never be tolerated. Accordingly, I have fined Kobe $100,000. Kobe and everyone associated with the NBA know that insensitive or derogatory comments are not acceptable and have no place in our game or society.”
Kobe Bryant just wrapped up a live interview on ESPN radio — where he said he plans to appeal the $100k fine issued by the league for dropping a homophobic slur during last night’s game … but he never squarely apologized for calling the ref a “fucking faggot.” Kobe said the decision to appeal the fine is “standard protocol.” Kobe also said, “The concern that I have is for those that follow what I say … look to me as a role model .. for them not to take what was said as a message of hate or a license to degrade … or to embarrass or tease … because that’s something I don’t wanna see have happen.” Kobe stated he plans to talk to gay rights groups. Kobe said his message to people is, “It’s OK to be who you are.”
I, personally, understand that things can get heated in games like this, especially with the championship finals coming up … but the NBA Commissioner was absolutely right to bring the hammer down hard on Kobe Bryant. It is completely inexcusable for language like this to be used in any capacity, let alone on national television for anyone to see. I can’t say I’m at all impressed by Kobe‘s “apology” … saying that he didn’t mean to offend anyone doesn’t explain why he even used the word “faggot” in the first place. If he didn’t mean to offend, what did he mean to do? While it may be “standard protocol” to appeal a fine of this magnitude, if Bryant were really sorry he would just pay the fine and offer a genuine apology for his actions. It is my hope that the money Bryant is forced to pay out for this offensive infraction does get donated to a GLBT charity. I am so happy to see that Commissioner David Stern is taking this offense so seriously. This should make everyone in the NBA (and hopefully other professional sports as well) that this kind of homophobia will NOT be tolerated. Period.