GLAAD says it has talked to Lakers regarding Kobe Bryant's anti-gay slur
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocacy organization, said that it has reached out to the Lakers regarding Kobe Bryant's use of a homophobic slur in Tuesday's game against San Antonio.
"It's in progress," GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios said in a phone interview regarding the group's efforts in talking with the Lakers. "It's our hope they take appropriate disciplinary action and use it as an opportunity to educate."
When asked what would constitute "appropriate disciplinary action," from the NBA and the Lakers, Barrios said the league should "investigate the statement and the context of the statement. I'm not going to dictate what a team should do, but the team should take action and the action should include public education beyond this player in Mr. Bryant. They should not let a statement be enough."
The NBA is reviewing the incident and could levy a fine against Bryant, who expressed irritation after receiving his 15th technical foul of the season, yelled at referee Bennie Adams before appearing to mutter the homophobic slur. Bryant said later in a statement that "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." In addition, Lakers spokesman John Black confirmed GLAAD has reached out to the Lakers.
"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," Black wrote in an e-mail. "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."
Meanwhile, Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, further criticized Bryant saying his statement didn't do enough.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant sits on the bench after getting a technical foul during a basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs in L.A. April 12, 2011. Credit: Lucy Nicholson / Reuters