Kobe Bryant Fined $100k For Homophobic Remark

"Kobe Bryant’s comment during last night’s game was offensive and inexcusable"

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.

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  1. perdiz

    of course it was meant to be offensive. he was mad at the guy. you dont yell things at someone who pissed you off and mean them to be neutral. im glad the NBA commissioner has responded with such a punishment and done so with such an eloquent statement.

  2. Meghan

    What a douche….

  3. ellobie

    Exactly, perdiz!

    And it’s like any other hateful word – no one will learn to remove terms like these from their language until there is some significant personal consequence.

  4. I have had a very hard time respecting Kobe since the alleged sexual assault years ago, but this just sealed the deal for me. And the apology? Totally half-assed. It’s not like I go around yelling the N word when I am angry and frustrated with someone. It’s inexcusable, especially for a public figure that many people seem to look up to. Shame on you, Kobe. Shame.

  5. Ray

    I find that guys tend to throw around the phrase “f*cking f*ggot” a lot and clearly as a put down , especially in sports. And if you look at the case of the New York Yankees’ “Bleacher Creature” that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A clear message needs to be sent to let Kobe and his ilk know that words have meaning and consequences even if they try to convince us that they don’t. Good for the NBA Commissioner.

  6. Jbo

    If you spew hatred in the midst of anger, chances are you feel that way regardless of anger. These “players” are roll models for young children and they need to carry themselves with much more class and tact.

    Can we PLEASE STOP words like F-ggot, N*gger and Homo? They should be erased from existence!

  7. me

    I don’t think in this situation, or in most, people use that word with the intention as using it as a gay slur or homophobic comment but just as a putdown. It’s wrong to use this word and it’s offensive, but I don’t think just because you say it you are homophobic.

    • @me — I completely disagree. That’s like saying that people who use the “N” word aren’t racist. IMHO, people’s true feelings and beliefs come out in the heat of the moment. Someone who can so easily say something so offensive in the spur of the moment clearly has harbored feelings about the word.

    • me

      H hate to admit it but when I was younger I would use that word sometimes in insults/etc, similar to douche or whatever. (I am not that old now). I had no idea what the meaning of the word was or that it was homophobic, I just knew it was insulting. However, once i found out its meaning, I stopped using that. This also goes with my friends. But sometimes I still hear them slip up and say it jokingly (even though it’s not funny, at all) and I know firsthand that there is no homophobic intention behind it. Ever since finding out the meaning of the word, I have felt very awkward every time someone uses that word because of how offensive it is. All I’m trying to say is a lot of people did not know what that word meant back in the day, it’s a word that has been more “off-limits” ever since the fight for gay marriage, equal rights, etc. Back in the day the N word was thrown around openly, but it has since been associated with racism, etc. and is harshly frowned upon. Just like how the f word used to be thrown around liberally, but is now associated with being homophobic, etc.

      I know I’m kind of rambling right now, but all I’m trying to say is just because someone uses the f word does not mean they are homophobic. A lot of people ignorantly throw that word around as a general insult, oblivious to exactly how offensive the word is.

    • @me — I see what you are saying but an adult man has no excuse about not knowing what the word means. It is for your exact reasoning that Kobe’s penalty is so important. Kids who look up to him will learn that the word is offensive and NOT to be used.

    • You are a total Idiot but I don’t mean you are dumb!!

  8. Margie

    I’m with everyone’s comments. His intention was to hurt the ref who fouled him with a technical. Ugh. But, this is Kobe and nothing classy should be expected.

  9. Brady

    If u have a problem with the word maybe its YOU who have the ptoblem with who u r.

  10. errin

    What an ass. I don’t care how mad a get and call people names there are certain words that aren’t a part of my vocabulary. And he’s appealing the fine? That’s like 50 bucks to a normal person. Suck it up Kobe…

  11. The fact that he said the word in a heated moment, most likely when he wasn’t thinking about what he was saying, makes me think it’s a word he says, not necessarily often, but enough. I never say the “n” word so there is no way that I would randomly shout it at someone when I was caught up in the heat of the moment. Just my thought. Kobe has millions of fans; little kids wear his jersey and they look up to him. I’m glad he’s taking action to retract what he said but we haven’t really heard a clear apology from him. I need more from him.

    • This! In the heat of the moment you’re not going to suddenly shout out a random word you rarely use. He said it because it is probably his default insult.

    • Megan

      I do, actually. Especially at basketball games, as ironic as that is. I have called refs “fucking cuntrags” before, and you can trust that I don’t use that in everyday conversation. And I am just a fan getting mad at them.

  12. Sabrina

    I would just like to know when players are fined where does that money go? Not just for the NBA but other sports as well.

  13. krissy

    I can’t believe he is appealing it! What an ass! It is one thing to make the mistake, but to object to the very light punishment is tacky. Kobe makes sooooo much money. $100k isn’t that much in the grand scheme of his bank account.

    Most importantly to me, the fine sends a clear message to the young kids that follow basketball that being derogatory towards gay people is not cool and is unacceptable. Kobe acting like it isn’t a big deal actually makes it a big deal. He should have just apologized and paid the fine.

  14. SuzieB

    Kobe is such a douche, I can’t even stand it!! I would hope that the NBA uses the fines for situations like this toward community work that they do, but am not sure.
    And really, just saying that you “didn’t mean it offensively” doesn’t make it right what you’ve said. There’s a zillion other curses etc to use in frustration – doesn’t shock me at all that Kobe goes the insensitive route.

  15. Amy

    I am getting so sick of hearing the excuse “i dd not mean to offend anyone”, it is not an apology it it a cop out. He should have known the second he uttered the word that he offended alot of people.

    Let’s just put it in perspective and say someone had called him the n-word and then turned around and said they did not mean to offend anyone by saying that, does he honestly want us to belive that he would accept that as some sort of apology, I highly doubt it and nobody should expected to brush off such a slur. Kobe should just pay his fine and make a sincere apology to the public and an additional donation to a GLBT charity would also be a positive step in the right direction.

  16. c-word

    if you do the crime, you pay the fine… what is this bullshiz about trying to get an appeal?! “standard protocol” my ass. especially with the kind of dough that dude is pulling in!

  17. Brit

    I think what he said was totally wrong. I do not however believe that anyone has the right to fine him. We live in a country where we have freedom of speech and that means he is able to use whatever words he wants to use…even if it’s not right. We don’t have to respect him or support him at all but we shouldn’t be able to “punish” him. It doesn’t mean he is homophobic and if he is, oh well! Ignorance is his issue…Everyone has a choice and if his is to be an ass, that’s him. He didnt physically hurt anyone or break the law! Just saying!

    • krissy

      “We” aren’t the ones punishing him. The organization that hires him is punishing him. If a private company hires a person to be in the public eye on their behalf, they have the right to set their own standards.

  18. thinkaboutit

    Not a fan of Kobe and I agree it was an inappropriate comment to make. However, those of you turning around and calling him a ‘douche’ – you are doing the same thing! Insulting a person you don’t know by calling him a rude name. It may not be an insult related to race or orientation, but you’re really doing the same thing.

  19. Gee

    Brit- He plays for a team, and he’s part of an organization. “We” are not punishing or fining him, the commissioner of the NBA organization is..and he has every right to.

  20. Mitchell

    Or you will?

  21. Chris

    I was censored.

    Liberals and their silly beliefs in everything as long as it’s exactly what they think.

    The amount of group think is absurd.

    • krissy

      For all of your talk about “group think”, you sure know how to spout conservative talking points about those darn “liberals”!

      In this case, the motive for this decision isn’t liberalism, it is Capitalism. The corporate entity that controls Kobe’s team sees it in their best finanical interest to show the public where they stand on this kind of behavior.

  22. The word is offensive! I don’t associate with people who use it.

  23. Can you imagine the up roar if the ref called him a black so and so….

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