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Kobe Bryant appears in Call of Duty: Black Ops commercial

I cringe when our sports culture invokes war references. Even if there's somewhat of a common thread in that both sports and the military build a sense of team camaraderie and intense preparation, it's absolutely ludicrous to pair the two together because the consequences and seriousness of war bode incredibly higher than that of a sports game.

So when I saw Kobe Bryant's commercial below in Call of Duty: Black Ops, I didn't exactly find it enjoyable. On face value, I'll admit it's cool to see Bryant handle an assault rifle and fire away. The commercial is obviously a spoof considering it also features Jimmy Kimmel and a hotel concierge answering his phone in the middle of a gun fight. But this didn't exactly cause me to roll around on the floor laughing like in that scene in Anchorman. The commercial's actually a little disturbing since it also features everyday citizens handling guns as if they're toys.

I respect Bryant's skill set, work ethic and love for the game as much as anyone else does. I also have to give Bryant props for the fact that he recently presented a $1 million check to the Call of Duty Endowment. But I just found the ad distasteful.

Don't get me wrong. I grew up playing first-person shooters, such as Golden Eye, Doom and Duke Nukem and love action movies as much as the next guy. I also find the commentary  that violent movies and video games have harmed our society to be overblown. But I think the commercial featuring a happy-go lucky vibe with ordinary citizens pretending to be in combat downplays the seriousness that real combat entails.

--Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

 
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Mark.....It's a video game....give me a break!!!

Since 1995 video game sales have quadrupled while arrests for juvenile violent crime has dropped 49%. And as for desensitizing youth to combat. Who cares? Saying this game is in poor taste because it spoofs real war is saying civil war re-creationists are insensitive to those who fought in the civil war. I've fought in the combat these games recreate, and while I rarely play them, I harbor no ill will toward those who do. It's a video game, the 007 you played could offend a British spy. If the game really does downplay the seriousness of real combat, let it. I see no problem with that. Worst case scenario a kid thinks war is no big deal, if he fights in one, he'll learn quickly. If he doesn't who cares he's just another uninformed American with no real life experience and most won't take his opinions seriously. Games are games.

I thought it was just a commercial showing that anyone can play the game. I thought it was cool kobe did this commercial, I wouldn't have thought of him being in something like this.

Anyways, I liked the commercial it made me chuckle. I don't get how people link this with real war but whatever. You have to know how to seperate the two. It is fun, if you don't like it then don't play. If you don't think your kids can handle it then don't let them play. It is a pretty easy concept.

Wonderful commercial -- I've seen it several times in the last couple days, and when I hear "Gimme Shelter" and the gunfire and explosions my attention is immediately on the commercial.

So it's effective -- I'm not a video game player but if I was then I would want this game.

I'll preface this by saying that my father was killed in Vietnam when I was three weeks old, so I probably wasn't the best audience for this commercial when I was watching football yesterday afternoon with my two year old daughter. I'll also add that I played a lot of video games back in the day, plenty of them war-games, and was never really troubled by the genre (though I wasn't confronted by anything as realistic as this one, either).

I think what bothered me the most beside the fact that it showed in the middle of the day (and I'm sure will soon be airing during Scooby Doo or Pokemon in the early mornings) was the tag-line: "There's a soldier in all of us." In a time of multiple wars, where people on all sides are dying or being maimed for real, there is definitely NOT a soldier in all of us. Especially here in America, where all of us are not being asked to go. And to define the meaning of the word "soldier" as having a good ol' time running around the battlezone with some machine guns and rocket launchers in your hands (or in some grinning celebrity's) is beyond offensive. Or as my mother put it in an email after she watched this commercial online...

"Mr. Bryant, Mr. Kimmel and Activision should see what its like to wait for your loved one to arrive in a sealed body bag, then a sealed coffin, so that families do not have to see how their loved ones bodies have been destroyed. I did have to wait for the body of my 23 year old husband to be returned from Vietnam. It is not a game."

Honestly, I'm still struggling to articulate my own feelings about games like Call of Duty, and since I don't play them any more, I don't think I'm in a good position to judge. But as someone who knows very well the cost of real war, I feel on pretty solid ground when I say Activision and everyone involved with this commercial should be ashamed of themselves. Not a frame of it leads me to believe they've truly considered the consequences of the virtual war they're selling.

This ad should not have aired during the afternoon NFL telecasts. Sunday or Monday night? Fine. Little kids are in bed. My five year old saw it Sunday afternoon and it was horrifying for both of us. It looks like your next door neighbor walking around with an assault rifle.

I know it's just a commercial, and I'm working hard to make sure my kids do too, but the timing for this level of violence was extraordinarily bad.

"But I think the commercial featuring a happy-go lucky vibe with ordinary citizens pretending to be in combat downplays the seriousness that real combat entails." am i reading this right or did he just say that video games should be super serious about combat. and about the whole BAW BAW VIDEO GAME VIOLENCE IS BAD FOR KIDS IT TEACHES THEM THE WRONG THING. a few words GROW THE FUCK UP. video games doesn't teach kids the wrong things unless your a failure of a parent and thats all Im saying.

Give me a break, dude! It's a freakin commercial for a video game! How's it any different than a movie preview for a violent action flick?

I wonder which fps will last longer. Halo Reach, or Black ops.
I do think that Halo reach has a higher repeatability value.

-Luis

This commercial had nothing to do with a sports to war comparison, if it did WHY WOULD JIMMY KIMMEL BE THERE? Or any one of the other random people in it? If it was a sports-war comparison there would have been more than 1 athlete on it. The point of the commercial is that in the game you can basically customize your soldier to fit anyone; not just serious gamers but every day people can find something they like, THAT'S THE POINT!!!! This journalist should have done some checking and found out what the commercial was actually trying to convey. The only reason Kobe was in the commercial is to put a few famous people in it, along with Kimmel. It could have just as easily been Emerill or Simon Cowell. Video game commercials usually have athletes in it.

VIDEO GAME
i don't see italians throwing stuff at monkeys cause donkey kong was awesome.

Ok, so I'm joining this party late. Mr Medina, I have read your sports articles and really enjoy them. However, how dare you? Did you even realize what you actually just said? "The commercial's actually a little disturbing since it also features everyday citizens handling guns as if they're toys."--Really Mark, really? Yes, ordinary citizens do handle guns, maybe not as if they were toys, but ordinary citizens do handle guns. We call these ordinary citizens, members of the Army Reserve/National Guard, the Air National Guard/ Air Force Reserve...etc. They call us citizen warriors. We are pizza-delivery boys, doctors, lawyers, full--time college students, church deacons, Walmart empolyees, College-level basketball/football players, and even high school students.

Your comments were laced with some ultimate liberal pacifist jargon that I find despicable. Have you ever been Called out of your suit and from LA Times/Staples center and into Duty? Have you ever received a phone saying Sergeant Medina, you are being mobilized in support of Operation Iraqi /Enduring Freedom? And if your answer is no then you can see why I, as someone who has been serving this country since he was 17 years old (a junior in high school), and was a born citizen of Jamaica at that, finds this comment of yours despicable.

You cannot disrespect the ones who walk away from the various professions they have (as mostly represented in some ways in this commercial) as "a little disturbing" and then make hints about the horrors of war. War has many different sides and although it affects us in many different ways, we also deal with it in many different ways. Many of us aim to take the edge off our worries through all methods of humor. We are not just some robots and war is not all filled with dumb moments...some of the best times of my life was when I was in Iraq although I was 19 and saw my 20th and 22nd birthdays over there. Your article was way off base and I might just be one ant on the hill but I will have a hard time reading your sports work from here on out because of your blatant Ad Hominem.

Rhon Salmon - First off, I thank you for your service and I think it's safe for me to say that the entire LAT Lakers blog community is thankful for your sacrifice. Second, I'm humbled and glad to hear you normally enjoy my sports articles. I think it's unfair for me to be personally attacked like that. To answer your question, I haven't been called into service, but I have plenty of close friends who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan and my grandfather fought in World War II. I lack the perspective of a service member who has fought but I am definitely aware from my close ones the challenges they go through. In no way did I go into any type of political tirade in this post, nor do I find it appropriate to. I simply stated my misgivings about the commercial knowing close ones are in the battlefield in a setting far less glamorous and fun as the video game depicts. I make it very clear I have no problem with violent video games and movies and stated I grew up enjoying both. All I objected to how jovial they made combat out to me when I know there are many, including close people I know, laying their life on the line every day. I'll agree to disagree - I honestly don't see how you find this statement offensive: "The commercial's actually a little disturbing since it also features everyday citizens handling guns as if they're toys." It's much different ordinary citizens owning and using guns for personal use than to be in actual combat. I don't see how that in any way is disrespecting the Army Reserve/National Guard, the Air National Guard/ Air Force Reserve, etc.

If anyone actually agrees with this rubbish, this person considers an opinion. Which in reality is just a terrible interpretation of the actual meaning behind the commercial. Please do us all a favor and never voice your opionions ever again. What the commercial is saying, is that now this game is mostly online based and played. I know that I play C.O.D. online more then the campaign, but anyways. It's just saying that It don't matter who you are, people from all over play this game and enjoy it. Also that you could be playing with Kobe Bryant or Jimmy Kimmel and not even know it, but in no way is it saying that everyday citizens are war torn Soilders ready for battle, and it looks so easy, it just expressing the online interaction with different people and how they enjoy to play a game.

I disagree about the ad being distasteful.
I think they accurately recreated a scene that shows the same thrill the game tries to give it's players. When I saw the commercial I was instantly pumped up for the game, so it's also pretty gosh darn effective.

Hey guys help me, why doesnt this video load? I wanted to see him :(

 
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