He may not notice, but Kobe Bryant’s pockets will be a little bit lighter. $100,000 lighter that is.
Yesterday, the Laker shooting guard was fined by the NBA for using a derogatory gay term in reaction to an official referee’s call.
Though Tuesday night was counted as a win for fans at the Staples Center, it was a loss for the basketball franchise’s super star. During the third quarter of the Laker’s final home game against the San Antonio Spurs, referee Bennie Adams called a technical foul against Kobe for disputing his judgment on a previous play.
Visibly upset, Kobe reacted in anger calling Adams a “f*cking f*ggot.” The mouthed slurs were caught by TNT cameras broadcasting the game and by viewers across the country, who were tuning in to see the Laker’s last regular season home game.
In a statement on the incident, NBA Commissioner David Stern said:
“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. … 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.”
Gay-rights groups from Los Angeles and across the country have demanded an apology specifically from Kobe and from the Laker’s organization. And so yesterday, the star made a statement meant to clarify the whole affair. Kobe said:
“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.”
The main problem with Kobe’s apology is that it does not acknowledge the problem with using derogatory language in a moment of heat or in casual conversation. The problem with the slurs aren’t that they can be taken out of context, it is that no matter how they are used, they have the potential to be harmful. Furthermore, Kobe’s apology seems to be half sincere- a way of saying ‘its all part of the game’ which is still problematic even if other players feel that way too. Basketball, indeed most professional sports are filled with trash talking, but there’s a line between talking smack and spilling hate.
What do you think of Kobe’s apology, Clutchettes? Tell us what you think!