GLAAD applauds NBA's decision to fine Kobe Bryant $100,000 for anti-gay slur
Hours after publicly calling for the NBA to take what it called appropriate disciplinary action, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy organization, praised the NBA for fining Lakers guard Kobe Bryant $100,000 for his use of a homophobic slur in Tuesday's game against San Antonio.
“The NBA has sent a clear message to sports fans everywhere that anti-gay slurs have no place in the game,” GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios in a statement. “When such a prolific cultural institution like the NBA speaks out against hateful words, we are reminded that fair-minded Americans are siding with equality for all. This decision will serve as an important precedent that will help ensure a safer, more inclusive environment for fans and players everywhere, and we look forward to continuing our dialogue with the NBA.”
GLAAD had also reached out to the Lakers, a conversation team spokesman John Black confirmed in an e-mail, saying, “I had a good and productive conversation earlier today with an executive of GLAAD, in which we agreed that certain words can be interpreted in a hurtful and offensive manner. “I assured him that Kobe didn’t mean his words in that way, and he seemed appreciative and satisfied with the statement that Kobe issued. Beyond that, I prefer to keep our conversation private.”
GLAAD in the past has worked with the New York Yankees and World Wrestling Entertainment to address homophobia issues in sports, such as prohibiting anti-gay taunts at games. It remains unclear if the Lakers will partake in similar initiatives, but Bryant said today on 710 ESPN's Mason and Ireland show that he plans to meet with the group.
“I will be saying something,” Bryant said. “I plan on talking to them. Out of this, I believe it's our responsibility as athletes and those in the spotlight to bring awareness of these issues. It's coming from a negative light, but it's our responsibility to make it into a positive and raise awareness as much as we can and say it's not OK to insult or discriminate. It's not the right thing to do. I will say something to them and talk about doing things to help prohibit hate crimes and violence. It's important to do that.”
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: Lakers' Kobe Bryant and teammates during the singing of the National Anthem before the game against the San Antonio Spurs April 13, 2011. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times