Kobe Bryant appears to direct gay slur toward referee during Lakers-Spurs game [Updated]
After receiving his 15th technical foul of the season, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant sat down on the bench and appeared to direct a gay slur toward referee Bennie Adams.
The TNT telecast captured Bryant's outburst during the Lakers' 102-93 victory Tuesday over the San Antonio Spurs. He hit his seat before sitting, threw a towel and then yelled "Bennie!" before appearing to mutter the homophobic slur. That prompted TNT announcer Steve Kerr to say, "You might want to take the cameras off of him right now, for the children watching from home."
[Updated at 11:02 a.m.: An NBA spokesman said the league would review the incident, which prompted Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, to release a statement calling on Bryant and the Lakers to publicly address the issue.
"What a disgrace for Kobe Bryant to use such horribly offensive and distasteful language, especially when millions of people are watching," the HRC said in a statement. " 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.”]
A Lakers spokesman didn't offer any official comment, but said Bryant planned to release a statement soon. Lakers Coach Phil Jackson spoke in general terms regarding Bryant's technical foul after the game.
"I think he's frustrated and it's normal he would be frustrated. He didn't shoot the ball particularly well tonight," Jackson said of Bryant's 27-point effort on eight-of-21 shooting. "He was aggressive and got a foul call he disputed later and was rung up for. Now he's against the edge."
Should Bryant pick up his 16th technical Wednesday in the Lakers' season finale at Sacramento he would be suspended for the first game of the 2011-12 season. Technical counts reset for the playoffs.
-- Mark Medina and Broderick Turner
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