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: Nov 25, 2006
Posted on: April 13, 2011 8:52 pm

Kobe Bryant appeared to yell gay slur at official

Inappropriate? Yes, but that statement issued from rights' activists is a little too much and looks like they saw an opportunity to blow this minor and mostly innocent screw up by Kobe in their favor. I don't care for Kobe, but he's human and this jargon is heard everywhere. It's not like the guy staged an anti-gay rally or protest (which is still legal under the constitution anyway)  Some things like this, don't hold much face value on paper anymore, some words and phrases just lose textbook meaning after a while, yet are conditioned into everyday conversation for many, through anger, laughter, etc. If they want to attack famous athletes, John Rocker was their train ride to media galore. This has no bearing on attitudes toward sexuality, it will only, maybe make some players watch their mouths when there's the possibility of a camera catching it. When networks do pickup lewd incidents, they usually do not acknowledge it like Mr. Steve Kerr did.
Like Michael Richards aka Kramer said "I GUESS I SCREWED UP"

Since: Mar 29, 2009
Posted on: April 13, 2011 8:36 pm
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Since: Oct 10, 2010
Posted on: April 13, 2011 8:18 pm
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Since: Apr 19, 2008
Posted on: April 13, 2011 8:17 pm
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Since: May 9, 2010
Posted on: April 13, 2011 7:47 pm

Kobe Bryant appeared to yell gay slur at official

I see that K has been fined $100,000 for his "slur." THIS FINE is what's truly outrageous. It's completely, utterly, totally, entirely, unequivocally OUTRAGEOUS that anyone would be fined EVEN ONE CENT for any "slur." And rest assured, it wasn't just that he disrespected the referee. It was what he said that got him this outrageous fine. David Stern made this clear in his statement. The heavy fine was because of the content of his speech. The NBA has to be the most politically correct sports league on the planet. From it's silly "NBA Cares" to its "Go Green" campaign and now to this, it's perfectly clear that the thought-police and the fully processed are at the helm of the NBA. I'm done. I'll no longer watch any NBA game ever again. Men, refuse any longer to allow the thought-police and their propagandists to process you. Refuse. Resist.

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: April 13, 2011 7:30 pm

Kobe Bryant is not the issue

The issue here is not the word or the slur. The real issue is that a player, after receiving a technical foul from a referee, chose to demean and insult that referee again. This may not be a big deal. But it is the very point of emphasis the league endorsed at the beginning of the season - respect for the officials. Now that respect is not for the individual but for the position. Most of us at various times have thought worse thoughts than Kobe expressed toward officials. But we are not players. And players are out of control unless they respect the position of the referees.

Are there consequences? Most certainly there are. Now the league must act to administer a much more significant punishment to get players' attention. I only hope that does not include suspension from a playoff game. That would punish the entire team (and their fans). But is money any deterrant to a player making $20M per year? Likely not.

As far as the choice of words go, I take Koby at his word that he did not realize consciously that he is homophobic. Still, perhaps a few hours in a classroom learning the effect of slurs on the minorities receiving them might be helpful. In this society there exists free speech regarding what we think. But there is not free speech concerning hate speech toward minorities. There is not free speech in seeking to incite criminal behavior. There is not free speech in spreading slander. These responsibilities go with the privilage of the free speech. Each of us will be a better person to be aware of them and refrain from using them.

Since: Mar 14, 2011
Posted on: April 13, 2011 7:27 pm

Kobe Bryant appeared to yell gay slur at official

sorry.   could have really hurt someone

Since: Mar 14, 2011
Posted on: April 13, 2011 7:25 pm

Kobe Bryant appeared to yell gay slur at official

100 G's for that.  most people say that on a day to day basis and The Mamba get 100G's fine. Is the referee gay that it was taken in that content?  Why don't they fine the guys that you can clearly hear say "bad" words with the mic out on the court cuz i now i've heard them say more than a few.  People at home couldn't even hear Kobe just read his lips.  I know it was the NFL but james Harrison got a 75,000 fine for an illegal hit that couldn't really hurt someone but Kobe gets 100 Gs. " sticks and stones may break my bone but words will never hurt me."  kinda flip flopped now a days huh.  Lakers FTW!!!

Since: May 4, 2007
Posted on: April 13, 2011 7:04 pm

Kobe Bryant appeared to yell gay slur at official

This is so out of character for Kobe. Next you'll tell me he rapes girls in hotels...

Since: Jan 11, 2007
Posted on: April 13, 2011 6:52 pm

Kobe Bryant appeared to yell gay slur at official


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