If news that LeBron James had taken over his spot for the top NBA jersey sales
wasn’t tough enough to handle, Kobe Bryant now must contend with a social media mutiny.
The Los Angeles Lakers star is the target of gay and lesbian groups everywhere after he directed a gay slur at a referee during Tuesday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs.
Bryant apparently called the ref a “f***ing f***ot” after receiving a technical foul. TNT, the network broadcasting the game, caught Kobe in the act.
The Human Rights Campaign has launched a full-court press against Bryant, issuing the following statement:
“What a disgrace for Kobe Bryant to use such horribly offensive and distasteful language, especially when millions of people are watching. Hopefully Mr. Bryant will recognize that as a person with such fame and influence, the use of such language not only offends millions of LGBT people around the world, but also perpetuates a culture of discrimination and hate that all of us, most notably Mr. Bryant, should be working to eradicate. Bryant and the Lakers have a responsibility to speak up on this issue immediately. America is watching.”
Bryant issued the following statement in response:
“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.”
Apparently it wasn’t enough for the HRC, which in turn issued this statement about Bryant’s response to their previous statement.
“For better or worse, Kobe Bryant has created a teachable moment for the millions of fans—many of them young—who saw that outburst on the floor,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “And the right thing to do now is to apologize and take responsibility for suggesting that the worst thing you can do to someone is to scream out a gay slur. This kind of homophobic outburst has dangerous consequences, even more so when it comes from a celebrity in the national spotlight.”
The NBA has fined Bryant $100,000
—which is ridiculous. No one should use that slur, but if the league fined every player for what he said, no one would ever make any money playing the game.
Check that: They would make as much money as they do playing the game.