Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant landed in hot water with NBA Commissioner David Stern and GLAAD after uttering a homophobic slur at a game Tuesday, April 12. Bryant was subsequently slapped with a $100,000 fine and issued an apology for his foul language.
According to nytimes.com, Bryant issued a statement of apology for his homophobic outburst shortly before receiving the fine, assuring that he meant no harm to the LGBT community.
“What I said last night should not be taken literally. My actions were out of frustration during the heat of the game, period,” Bryant said in the statement. “The words expressed do not reflect my feelings towards the gay and lesbian communities and were not meant to offend anyone.”
The incident occurred midway through the game, when Bryant was removed from the game by coach Phil Jackson. Bryant had been called with his third offensive foul, argued the call and was hit with his 15th technical foul of the season, which is just one shy of the number that leads to an automatic one-game suspension.
Upon returning to the bench, Bryant slammed a chair, threw a towel and then yelled “Bennie” at referee Bennie Adams. As Bryant sat down and leaned back on the bench, he uttered “f—— f—–”, an act which was captured by TNT’s national broadcast of the game.
It’s unclear whether Adams heard the slur, but game analyst Steve Kerr did and commented, “You might want to take the cameras off him right now, for the children watching from home.”
Apparently, LGBT rights organization GLAAD was far from happy about Bryant’s foul language and president Jarrett Barrios issued a statement criticizing Bryant’s actions.
“Discriminatory slurs have no place on or off the court. Professional sports players need to set a better example for young people who use words like this on the playground and in our schools, creating a climate of intolerance and hostility. The LA Lakers have a responsibility to educate their fans about why this word is unacceptable.”
Stern also expressed disgust with Bryant’s actions and issued a statement to accompany the hefty fine.
“While I’m fully aware that basketball is an emotional game, such a distasteful term should never be tolerated,” he said. “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.”
What do you think of Bryant’s homophobic outburst and the comments from Barrios and Stern? –nicholas robinson