Blog Entry

Kobe Bryant appeared to yell gay slur at official

Posted on: April 13, 2011 12:26 pm
Edited on: April 13, 2011 4:54 pm
Posted by Royce Young 

Update 2:50 p.m.: Gay rights advocates decried Bryant's actions in a statement.
"What a disgrace for Kobe Bryant to use such horribly offensive and distasteful language, especially when millions of people are watching," the Human Rights Campaign, a leading gay-rights group, said. 
Jarrett Barrios, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, said in a separate statement that 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," Barrios said. "The LA Lakers have a responsibility to educate their fans about why this word is unacceptable."
On Wednesday, Bryant released his own statement, through the Lakers: “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.”

So he used the slur. He just didn't mean it. Notice how there's not an apology there. 

We've all sort of gotten a crash course reminder this season that NBA players aren't angel. That they kind of have potty mouths and say bad things. There was the whole Kevin Garnett - Charlie Villanueva thing, for example.

The latest comes from Kobe Bryant who after going to the bench following his 15th technical foul of the season, yelled out what appeared to be an offensive homophobic remark.

As you can see, Bryant yells out "Bennie!" which is directed at official Bennie Adams, and then says "F-word [gay slur]." I'm not a lip reader and I didn't hear it, but I think we can all agree that's what it appears to be. I suppose he could've said, "Philly Phanatic" but I'm thinking he didn't go that direction.

TNT announcer Steve Kerr saw it and immediately knew what was going on, remarking, "He's yelling at Bennie. You might want to take the camera off him for the children watching at home." obtained a statement made by the Lakers on the matter which said, "The Lakers can not confirm that is what Kobe said or not." The NBA said the incident was "under review." So we'll have to wait and see what that means.

I don't know how to entirely comment on this, other than to say it was a very bad thing for Kobe to yell, even in anger. I'm not entirely comfortable even writing about it because I like basketball and this isn't basketball. It's one of those things that if you step wrong around it, you slip on the banana peel and get yourself in trouble.

But here's the thing: We only know about this because the camera caught him do it. I'm sure this isn't the first time Kobe has said something like this nor do I think he's the ONLY player to have ever said something bad like this. He just had the misfortune of the camera being right on his face when he blurted it out.

We went over this with the Garnett - Villaneuva situation and pretty much all agreed: What's said on the court stays on the court. Problem with that, at least for the players, is that microphones tend to work very well, cameras catch everything and fans sit very near the action. You can't stay innocent for long nowadays.

And I'm not entirely sure it's fair to hold players like Bryant to a higher standard with things like this. Again, it was a horrible thing for him to say. He shouldn't have said it. But we've all said dumb, offensive things. Lucky for most of us, there wasn't a camera pointed in our face when we did it. Then again, we're not Kobe Bryant. It's honestly kind of a weird situation.

Reality is, the culture of professional sports has also been a misogynistic society where things like being gay is seen as a gross, bad thing. The culture just breeds language like that. That's locker room talk and that's a word that's used probably daily in there. Plus, Kobe has never been shy about dropping an f-bomb in interviews. He's always been somewhat crass and controversial. This time, he just sort of took it to a level that actually would offend some people.

I'm sure Kobe doesn't actually hate gay people. I'm sure he doesn't say that word to express hatred of gay people. I'm assuming here -- which I recognize is dangerous -- that Kobe just sort of has that word as part of his language to toss out in situations like this without really thinking about what it means.

I'm sure he'll be asked about it today and he'll either deny saying it or apologize. Maybe this is a lesson learned for all professional athletes that have cameras hovering around them everywhere they go: Watch what you say.
Category: NBA

Since: Feb 10, 2010
Posted on: April 13, 2011 5:48 pm
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Since: May 12, 2008
Posted on: April 13, 2011 5:46 pm
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Since: May 9, 2010
Posted on: April 13, 2011 5:45 pm
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Since: Oct 4, 2006
Posted on: April 13, 2011 5:42 pm

Kobe Bryant appeared to yell gay slur at official

For those that say, "If I said this at work I'd be fired...blah blah blah" realize you are replaceable. You get fired and they hire someone who does your job just fine within a week or two. Kobe is not replaceable. There is a double standard. That is life. Get over it.

Since: Nov 29, 2006
Posted on: April 13, 2011 5:41 pm
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Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: April 13, 2011 5:33 pm

Kobe Bryant appeared to yell gay slur at official

Kobe NEEDS to apologize - a REAL one. 
Kobe NEEDS to be fined.
The Lakers NEED to be fined.


Because the moment that a player calls a non-black player calls a black official the N-word under his breath within earshot of a microphone, all is going to break loose.  To take that a step further, any player calling any official (regardless of the color of the player or the official) is going to create a stir if they should happen to use the N-word. 

As a black man, I have been protected (and rightfully so) by the (often super or overly) sensitive PC culture in which we live now, but that should be a two-way street.  If you let negativity towards one group go unpunished, it is equivalent to apatheticly condoning that behavior.  And, before you tell me about "the heat of battle", I will tell you that I get mad at WORK (and Kobe was at work when this happened) from time to time, but I somehow manage to debate my co-workers minus the slurs because MY JOB AND LIVELIHOOD DEPEND ON IT. 

No, I don't think this makes Kobe a bad guy - as everyone has posted earlier, we all say stupid things some times. But it was inappropriate. 

Kobe and the Lakers are caught in an interesting Catch-22 here.  If Kobe REALLY wanted to rehab his image, he could become a martyr for this cause and recommend a league-imposed 1 game suspension (but would never happen) or serious fine (which could happen, and he could afford).  But with tonight's game being so important to the Lakers playoff standings (a win locks up the second seed, a loss could mean the 4th seed), the chances of suspension are VERY low, Kobe's apology does not sound like an admission of guilt or of someone who interested in righting a wrong. 

Maybe Kobe should pull an Eminem and have Elton John sit next to the Lakers bench tonight and they can hug/chest bump during timeouts. 

Since: Apr 13, 2011
Posted on: April 13, 2011 5:33 pm

Kobe Bryant appeared to yell gay slur at official

Honestly, don't care what Bryant said, but still it would be wise for the NBA to punish him, lets say he is forbidden for playing in the first round series of the playoffs. That would be cool.

Since: May 9, 2010
Posted on: April 13, 2011 5:23 pm

Kobe Bryant appeared to yell gay slur at official

Again I say, how refreshing this would be from Kobe: "I do not apologize for anything I said. I will never apologize. Never . I am entitled to my opinion, as we hear so often today. And my opinion is that homosexuality and homosexuals are disgusting. Sorry? Not at all. Don't like it? EAT IT. I will never surrender to the thought-police."

Since: Jan 13, 2007
Posted on: April 13, 2011 5:20 pm

Kobe Bryant appeared to yell gay slur at official

So what.....get over it,Kobe can say what he wants to say,that's his right and it's called freedom of speech,you don't have to like it but he can say it.Americans have turned into such whimpy cry babies...everyone gets offended and cry foul over the dumbest things...I'm white and someone calls me a cracker i'm going to throw a tizzy and cry and whine about it....people need to grow some skin because it seems there are many whose is  way too thin.Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me  !

Since: Dec 23, 2008
Posted on: April 13, 2011 5:19 pm

Kobe Bryant appeared to yell gay slur at official

everyones so sensitive these days, its crazy

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