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Kobe Bryant's anti-gay slur is indefensible; afterward is a nonapology, then reconciliation

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First came the anger.

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant punched his chair, threw his towel and then threw an anti-gay slur at referee Bennie Adams amid frustration for picking up his 15th technical foul of the season Tuesday during the Lakers-Spurs game.

Then came the defiance.

The TNT telecast captured Bryant's outburst. Analyst Steve Kerr noted, "You might want to take the cameras off of him right now, for the children watching from home." And the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, said in a release, "What a disgrace for Kobe Bryant to use such horribly offensive and distasteful language, especially when millions of people are watching."

In return, Bryant released a weakly worded statement that offered no apology whatsoever and featured a scolding tone wondering how anyone could take offense to what he said. "What I said last night should not be taken literally," his statement read. "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."

Then came the reconciliation.

Amid the HRC's dissatisfaction with Bryant's statement, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation called on the NBA and the Lakers to "take appropriate disciplinary action and use it as an opportunity to educate."

Bryant appeared on 710 ESPN's "Mason & Ireland" on Wednesday afternoon and sounded more sensible. He understood how words like the ones he uttered are the same words that some yell at homosexuals to discriminate and incite violence. He pledged to meet with groups such as HRC and GLAAD to apologize further and talk about using the incident as a springboard into further discussion about gay rights issues, reducing hate crimes and spreading awareness about what these words mean.

And he offered hope that his $100,000 fine, which he wrongfully said he will appeal, and the strongly condemned reaction will serve as a lesson to other NBA players that what he uttered goes beyond the trash talking and profanity-driven language in every basketball game.

It was surely a long day for Bryant, who earned initial criticism from HRC and GLAAD, a $100,000 fine from the NBA and later public praise from the HRC for his reaching out to them and from GLAAD on the league-imposed punishment. He fit in a 36-point performance on 13-for-24 shooting in the Lakers' 116-108 overtime victory over the Sacramento Kings. I have waited until all the developments unfolded before offering a comprehensive take on the situation, but here's something that hasn't changed since Bryant uttered those words. Bryant's anti-gay slur is indefensible.

He's surely not the first athlete to utter these words in the heat of competition. After all, Kevin Garnett did the same thing nearly three years ago and interestingly faced no consequences. But that doesn't absolve Bryant from blame so much as expose the league's hypocrisy regarding the issue. Justifying any used of a anti-gay slur and lumping it in with the profanity-laced phrases athletes use all the time on the court has the same twisted equivalency of saying the emotions just got the best of a white athlete who yelled out the n word during a game.

These aren't swear words. They're slurs that have been used to incite violence and promote discrimination, an outcome Bryant surely didn't intend, but they are words that inflict discomfort among those affected groups. As a hip hop fan and frequent viewer of shows such as "South Park," I understand how that slur is used in connotations that have nothing to do with hate-filled speech toward homosexuals. But that doesn't make it right.

That's why Bryant deserves credit when he stressed this on 710 ESPN's "Mason & Ireland": "The concern that I have is for those that follow what I say and are inspired by how I play or look to me as a role model or whatever it is, for them not to take what is said as a message of hate or a license to degrade or embarrass or tease. That's something I don't want to see happen. It's important for me to talk about that issue because it's OK to be who you are, and I don't want this issue to be a part of something or to magnify something that shouldn't be."

He backed up those actions in speaking with HRC with sentiments he expressed when scolding Tim Hardaway's anti-gay comments four years ago, enough for the group to release another strongly worded statement, this time praising Bryant: “I applaud Kobe Bryant for his swift apology. We had a very sincere conversation in which he expressed his heartfelt regret for the hurt that his words caused. He told me that it’s never OK to degrade or tease, and that he understands how his words could unfortunately give the wrong impression that this is appropriate conduct. At the end of a difficult day, I applaud Kobe for coming forward and taking responsibility for his actions.”

It surely was a difficult day that ultimately Bryant learned from.

-- Mark Medina

mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) stands on the court while head coach Phil Jackson stands near the team bench in the background before the start of the game against the Sacramento Kings at the Power Balance Pavilion. The Lakers defeated the Kings 116-108 in overtime. Credit: Cary Edmondson / US Presswire

 
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Yet another thread about this?
Are you serious?

Andrew - Shouldn't you be at practice? Don't worry. This is the last I'm addressing it. I mentioned I would give my two cents once all the developments unfold. Now I'm going to focus on the playoffs.

Andrew

Whats the bruise looking like son? And yes MM, ANOTHER thread about this? Btw if you would have been reading the comments that you are supposedly moderating before approving you would have seen that most bloggers have asked for moderation to be turned off.

The PSP has offered the PSP for hire to reduce the burden on you, yet you refuse; the PSP thinks the workload just might be getting too much for you.

Thanks
PSP Intern

While kobes comments were not appropriate I see so much filth and garbage coming out of republicans against a fine man who is our president being ignored that i cant believe how much time and effort we are going to devote to vilifying kobe.

Five freak'in posts in the last couple of days on this topic. Okay, point made. Can we all just move on now?

Mr. Medina,

We got the day off from practice today.
Aren't you supposed to be keeping up with what goes on with the team?

We already said yesterday glad it's all over. He is the uncontrolled Kobe with a big mouth, he's the repentant Kobe explaining his unfair treatment of Bennie and he was the NBA victim paying 100K and more apologies.....

What more juice do we want to extract from Kobe, more recycled news. It must have been a bountiful ticks and tweets yesterday, so an encore is a must.

With apologies to Bob Dylan....

How many threads must a fan walks down, before they call the issue as done
How many seas must a white dove sail, before Kobe puts his in the sand
How many times cause-oriented groups would cry, before they review the controversial foul

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind
The answer is blowing in the wind

Forget OT, did you see Fisher's 4th quarter mojo? Ballin!!!!
Whoa, I'm so dizzy from this spin.

Posted by: Magia32 | April 14, 2011 at 06:28 AM
=====

SCOREBOARD.

MM,

Seriously, man... This is pretty ridiculous.

We're on this crap again!?

Maybe we ought to turn this into a political blog? I'm off the oCRegister for basketball chats.

TO the OCRegister............

where basketball dialogue is mostly what is desired!

let it die already...

Can't we dicuss something less polarizing like ...abortion?

why can't we let this die?:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQr5T1lfqN4

WORD CRIME!!!!

The punishment?

$100,000, groveling and public humiliation!

Give me a break.

Like I said, I've heard this word used by gay acquaintances and friends used approximately 300 times in my presence.

This is an artificial non-issue exacerbated by over-sensitive twits.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

How about a new thread with playoff matchups and player head-to-head stats and such.

My bad always with Erratum: "before Kobe puts his * in the sand" One word missing it should be head but later on, I thought "mouth" would be more appropriate.

@KOBEMVP888 ... I thought for a minute we really were going to test the limits of the practice season theory by losing our last game. Then Kobe put his signature on the game and all is well.

TOM

Posted by: LakerTom | April 14, 2011 at 09:39 AM
=====

What is better practice could the Lakers get for the playoffs than shaking off a disastrous comeback from an opponent in their house punctuated by Kobe hitting a 3 with 4.8 seconds left, the team getting a much needed stop, having Fish lead us out of the gates in OT with a 3, and then getting a W?

I was as miserable as anyone watching this game unravel, but in the end, testing our championship mettle was a lot better preparation for the playoffs than blowing the Queens out and resting our guys. I know that seems preposterous and I'm not suggesting for a second that it was done on purpose (obviously it wasn't), but the way Kobe's been fumbling away the ball and missing shots down the stretch lately has been perplexing and Fisher's recent shooting slump has been bothersome, so it's nice to know that they can still reach deep down inside when they need it as they did on March 20th vs. Portland at Staples.

We already know that the Lakers will tighten up their defense in the playoffs, so this kind of finish was reassuring for upcoming close games down the stretch. So yes, Tom, you correctly put the "practice season" in perspective. Now for the 16 win countdown!

Lockeroom talk, court talk is super male. You call a guy a wimp by calling him a woman. A gay. You say horrible things about his mother. It's not nicey-nice land. Are we going to end that culture all together? Good luck. On the other hand, we have the dirty little secret that Prop 8 went down in California thanks to a lot of folks in the African-American church community who are not so cool with gay folks. So, as much as Kobe became a whipping boy for behavior in sports that is not specific to him alone, maybe it gets the message out to folks that it's not okay to be hatin' on them gays all the time. Obviously, the one thing lacking in the comparision of the "f" word to the "n" word in this situation, is this a predemoniately African-American league. Bombing out the "N" word in this league, would be like dropping the "F" word in male figure skating. Much more incindiary to those involved, not just us watching on the periphary.

@billy in slo, very nice!

or may "discuss".. my bad... or how about some Bball playoffs.
We are right where we want to be, who'd a thunk it? Even have home court over the septics should it come to that although it appears most people, including me see the Bulls coming out of the East. How fitting would that be for Phil to win #12 against Chicago where the legend of the Zen Master began.
Darth Stern is an evil genius.

Mark Medina,

I'm sorry, brother, but you're wrong on this.

These words have ZERO inherent power.

ZERO!!!!

Like I've said, I've heard this word used approximately 300 times in my presence by homosexuals. If this word is so inherently EVIL, then it wouldn't be used by those most sensitive to it. Period.

Sure, these words can be used to convey hatred, but they also can be used to convey playfulness.

I've been referred to by the "N-word" by at least 20 people--mainly black, but also white. Do they mean it in a derogatory way? No, they meant it to say that I was a cool dude.

It's situational and based on the user. Making a word ultimately taboo is utterly indefensible as far as I'm concerned.

You know who should be fined? GLAAD for continuing to propagate a system (political correctness) that divides society, inhibits healthy dialog, and diminishes the value of personal responsibility.

Sorry, brother, but you really got this one wrong.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!!

Kobe is one of those people we're dying to admire in total. He's got a work ethic like no one I've ever seen. With his positive attitude and his ability to perform well despite adverse circumstances, combined with the fact that he is intelligent and articulate, it is difficult to keep in mind that he is human. As a teacher of at-risk kids, I have used Kobe Bryant's words and successes over and over in my classroom to inspire my kids to achieve more than they think they can.

Now I can add one more thing - he keeps going forward even when he makes mistakes, big, glaring mistakes, even when the whole world finds out that he's not perfect. I hope he does ride a float in the gay pride parade in June, an NBA float. Let's see the whole organization learn from this.

There are really two issues here. One, you didn't have to say that, and while I didn't see it, an apology is likely appropriate.

However, the second is that the media and gay community will try to browbeat you into saying that homosexuality is a perfectly acceptable "choice" and try to turn you into some poster boy for promotion of gay rights.

NEVER accept that. Homosexuality is still a sin.

This is NON-NEWS.

Good grief, the playoffs are finally starting and we're having ANOTHER stupid thread about this?

MM, time to find a new profession dude, this is not your cup of tea.

Mark Medina,

Okay, dude.

He has not sinned cast the first stone!!!

You're a guy. You're into sports.

Have you NEVER talked smack talk before using off-color language in your life? NEVER?!?!?

Because if you say you haven't, I'd find that extremely hard to believe. I'd almost call you out as a liar.

I almost NEVER use racial or ethnic terms when I talk smack talk, though a large portion of my friends do. My Hispanic friends call me "cracker" all the time.

I'd say compared to all my male, sports-orientated, competitive friends, I use the least off-color language, but I still have done it.

EVERYBODY has practically.

So are you telling me that you're a lone exception out there?

Well?

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

Must be a slow news day. It's still a week from Easter but the dead horse is forcibly resurrected fo be beaten again. Yawn

Can we lay off MM please? He does have a job that includes writing.

Wes

i think we can all agree that when you get angry, you get stupid, kobe was stupid.the concerns are,why was THIS word used by kobe and what does THAT reflect? in a macho environment, as well as in the larger culture as well, we all have a responsibility to make sure the the "f" word goes the way of the "n" word in not being acceptable.

Plaschke needs to put a "lid on it" already. Media again is going to attempt to kick up a dead sand storm. As far as the appeal is concerned, Kobe mentioned that it was S.O.P. with any fine, not just his particular one.

The Playoffs are here man! Now we get to see "real" meaningful basketball games. This is "win or go home" time. Let's hope we don't see the Lakers on TNT's dreadful "gone fishing" segment. It would break my heart.

"We're worried about our execution. That's all we did then and that's all we'll do now." #24 K. Bryant


"Everything about the Lakers is geared toward winning playoff games. It's what they do." J.A. Adande


"Even when we didn’t make the playoffs, I thought we'd win the championship." Dr. Bus


"...they're shaking like virgins on prom night."
viewer comment by faithdalakerfan @ 10:03 pm

Go Lakers & In Buss We Trust!!


Mark: Please get over yourself and stop being so sensistive. Enough already. He said it, didn't mean anything by it but he shouldn't have, he apologized for it. The end. Let's hear about the playoffs and the drive for 3 in a row, not this dribble.

I'm so happy the Republicans don't want to raise taxes on people like all basketball players. They create jobs, don't they?

@jock

Careful, mainstream media, GLAD, and the unintelligent brainwashed liberals don't like it when intelligent people speak the TRUTH!

Guys,

Words are not one demensional. They mean different things to different people. It's important to both understand these differences and to respect them. One specific word, for example (that Kobe did not utter) has 400 years of pure, nasty, unparallelled history behind it and this history has to be taken into account when considering the word's usage. And it's this history that explains to us why one portion of the population can use this unspoken word (that Kobe did not utter) and another portion of that same population can not--now or ever--use that word.

History has to be considered when weilding any language.

Wes

WojYahooNBA Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter):

"The NBA has fined Phil Jackson $75,000 for comments on the collective bargaining agreement, and $75K to the Lakers too, league source says."

====

David Stern needs both a real good massage and an enema. He is becoming a little bit too nasty and transparently hateful, especially toward the Lakers, in his old age. And to think that Stan Van Gundy got away with what he said about Stern by simply having to absorb his wrath. This is truly unbelievable. Maybe the NBA needs the money for the Hornets to sign a free agent or something. Between Kobe, Phil and the Lakers, there's a $250,000 gift.

Jon K,i think you are wrong on this. it is not the 300 times you heard gay friends use this, it is the 12 year old boy who yells it out as a taunt. with young kids the f word means stupid,dumb, unacceptable, a loser. it is these kids who now have it in their lexicon with this meaning that we should be concerned with

Don't tell me what to do jock. I think this whole incident is being blown out of proportion and I'm guilty for contributing to this discussion too. Anyway, playoffs are here now.

Guys. I have a links post coming soon and it's onto the playoffs. It's not beating a deadhorse. There were developments of the story I needed to update and as I promised before I'd give my whole take on it.

@Jon K - I never said that I haven't sworn. But to use racial/ethnic or offensive terms is different.

Medina and Plaschke never heard of the 1st amendment. Which is weird since they write for newspapers which in theory depend on a free press. I am so tired of this political correctness bull. Call out the thought police! The word Kobe used is now the equivalent of the N-word??? I am so sick of word fascists like Medina and Plascke. The Times is nothing but a Politically Correct rag. Sheesh.

wesjoenixon,

We learn from history, but we should not be defined by it. Time to move on, bro.

KobeMVP888,

Darth Stern is a troll.

lance from da'bronx,

My point is that when we make a word taboo, we destroy our society a little. I've heard the word-that-I'm-not-allowed-to-type-or-I'll-be-censored-though-EVERYONE-knows-what-I'm-talking-about used repeatedly by homosexuals in a playful, yet STILL derogatory way. The word has no inherent power. This isn't about demeaning gays. It's about control through use of shame. It's just plain wrong.

Mark Medina,

Your silence is deafening.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

Mr. Mark Medina,

Are you by any means related to Mr. Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo Sports?

You guys seem to enjoy bashing Mr. KB every opportunity you can get.

People make mistakes, like he did and he has reached out to apologize already.
Enough sensationalizing a non-issue like this and move on!

Write about something that you're getting paid for, ummm like sports?
Thank you and have a nice day.

Jon K. insinuates that gay people throw that word around all the time...I don't know what gay people you've been hanging around. I'm around gay people every day (because I am gay, duh) and I don't think I've heard that word from other gay people "300" times in my whole life. Not even close.

And Jock perpetuates the fallacy that being born gay is a choice, and if he believes that, then he must have some experience in that area of choosing because that implies he has experienced both and then made a decision about it. I would hope you have a gay child in your marriage, but I wouldn't wish a father like you on a child, so I hope you have no children.

As for "another column about this?" Well, blame Kobe. And Kobe may have made a mea culpa, but don't call what he said an apology. I didn't hear the words "I'm sorry" out of his mouth. I guess it's easier to spout out f words than "I'm sorry."

Thanks for the update, Mr. Medina. As the son of late major league baseball player, Jim Beauchamp, and military veteran discharged for being gay, I appreciate you continuing to cover this important story. I grew up around major league professional baseball and homophobia definitely left its mark on me as the gay son of a professional baseball player. You are right to do an update on this important issue even if some, like Andrew Bynum, don't understand why it is so important. I'm quite sure Andrew does realize there are closeted professional athletes, and when teammates casually throw around their homophobic remarks it makes it that much more difficult for them to finally come out of the closet and live honestly and openly. I work as a contributing writer for John Aravosis' AMERICAblog Gay and will be submitting a post to feature part of your update. I've already had several posts published about my journey of being kicked out of the military for being gay, and my growing up in the homophobic environment of major league sports. Thanks to those of us who were willing to put our military careers on the line, society has evolved to the point where it realizes and accepts gays and lesbians serve openly and are an accepted part of our military. If gays and lesbians can willingly sacrifice so much for our country by serving openly in our nation's military, I would think professional athletes who enjoy the perks, hero worship and huge salaries of professional sports would be able to keep from being such bigots about those of us who don't share their sexual orientation. Besides, if it weren't for our military fighting to keep our country safe they wouldn't have their precious careers, and have the luxury of being so spoiled to think they are so entitled that they should be able to casually destroy that gay kid who might just happen to worship the likes of Kobe Bryant.

It is time for athletes to realize when they make those comments they might be disparaging the children of their teammates, as well. Also, this is a perfect moment for one of those closeted gay athletes to grow a pair and come out of the closet. The days of them being celebrated by our community for "bravely coming out of the closet" or over. If Gareth Thomas can man up and do it in Great Britain, and those collegiate athletes like Austin Hendrix can come out then it is time for a gay major league athlete to finally kick the closet door open and help make it easier for the next young gay athlete to succeed and stop the overt bigotry in professional athletics. I'm thankful for those who came out after their careers were over, but those days are over when so many of us are serving openly in the nation's military.

Keep covering this and if a spoiled professional athlete doesn't like it then all the better. Maybe next time, one of them will think twice when throwing around a hateful, bigoted gay epithet!

Mark Medina,

"But to use racial/ethnic or offensive terms is different."

So, you've never used an offensive term in smack talk?

I'm calling "bullcrap."

Calling Kobe's action "indefensible" is utterly wrong. Why? Because people have been defending it based on reason.

This isn't the 1950's. There has been tremendous societal change over the last SIXTY YEARS.

EVERYBODY uses off-color language now. EVERYBODY except for the toolbags in the media and politically correct shame-addicts like GLAAD.

Two of my best friends--one white; the other Hispanic--have an on-going game in which they try to produce the most racially offensive term to describe the other. It's not based on hatred. It's actually because the two love each other (in a hetero way). It's what guys do. It's hilarious to watch.

This whole WE NEED TO CONTROL LANGUAGE THING BECAUSE PEOPLE GET HURT BY IT AND THERE ARE HATEFUL PEOPLE OUT THERE is utterly artificial and retarded.

Mark, by feeding into it, you are contributing to the problem.

I wish SOMEONE in the media had the courage to stand up and note that the emperor wears no clothes, but it seems none of your guys do.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

MartinP.,

Hey, I believe you, if you say that you haven't heard that much, but I have. You can't deny me that it does happen, dude.

Regarding whether or not being gay is a choice, to me doesn't matter. It certainly is a lifestyle with a given identity and with that comes categorization and challenge.

People are going to make fun of it, just like Homer Simpson is a stereotype of big, dumb heterosexual white males.

That's life.

We have to deal with it.

Expecting NOT to be made fun of in life is delusional, childish, and self-absorbed. The world doesn't work that way.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

MartinP.,

[I think I may have lost my previous response due to a computer error. If two responses post, I hope you'll forgive my oversight.]

Hey, if you've had a different experience I'm not going to challenge you on it, but I'm sure you've heard "the term" and other off-color language used within the gay community. In fact, in my experience, the gay people I know are, on average, FAR more likely to use HIGHLY scandalous language after a few drinks than any heteros I know. So, people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, man.

Regarding whether or not being gay is a choice, it doesn't really matter to me. In my experience I've known guys who seem to choose that lifestyle and others in which it is the only real way for them. What matters is that it is an identifiable lifestyle and community and you know what comes with that? Some degree of challenge. That's life, man. People get made fun of, just like Homer Simpson is the stereotype of the big, dumb, clueless white hetero male.

It's irrational to assume that one is not going to be made fun of in life. That's not the way the world works.

There is cruelty and hatred in life. It's a tragic component to existence, banning it only makes it worse in the end.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!!

Listen, Kobe lost his temper and used an offensive term. Losing his temper is fine, that's natural; using an offensive term in anger is not fine. To compare Kobe to anyone of us is silly. He is a public figure, which means, by the nature of his profession, more eyes are on him, which means more scrutiny.

Those of you on here who are wondering why we can't simply "get over it," clearly have no personal or emotional investment in this issue; which is to say, you weren't offended by it. But to assume that, because you weren't offended, others shouldn't be offended is, in its own way, equally offensive.

GLAAD and the HRC are not blowing this out of proportion. The homosexual community is not a hypothetical community; it is a real community with real people who have real feelings; and, I suspect, there are many Lakers fans in their community. So, just because some of you aren't in that community, and therefore weren't hurt by Kobe's bad judgment, doesn't change the magnitude of what happened.

And just when you thought it was safe to talk Lakers basketball, and now this crap.

Feeling a little bit pressured by the boss's and media to write ANOTHER piece on this?

Welcome to the Kobe Haters Club Mark...it took this to show your true colors.

The posts above by Andrew Bynum weren't really written by him.

Was a joke...

@JonK
“Like I said, I've heard this word used by gay acquaintances and friends used approximately 300 times in my presence.”
This coming from the same guy that has had not 2 or 3 women proposes to you but 40 to 50?

“These words have ZERO inherent power”
This from the guy that thinks Los Lakers is the downfall of the fabric of our society.

“for continuing to propagate a system (political correctness) that divides society, inhibits healthy dialog, and diminishes the value of personal responsibility”
This from the guy that constantly puts rap music down as the division and fall of our society. Are lyrics not just words? They don’t really mean anything it is just entertainment right?

All of this from a guy that has the most ridiculous stories like the one behind your screen name? Typical neo-con dogmatic hypocrite. I don’t have the time or energy to go further, but trust me I’ll rip you to shreds with all the stupidity you have given us over the years that prove you are nothing more than an insecure story telling wanna be intellectual that proves to be just an ignorant loss soul angry at the world because you are not half the man you thought you would be or portray yourself to be. Don’t bother responding because I don’t care.
STFU already you ignorant hypocrite.

A few things to note:

A) I'm completely fine with MM writing about this - it's not like this is a small issue, given the fact that Kobe is one of the more prominent figures in a league that has had numerous image problems in the past that have cost everyone involved lots and lots of money. The 2004 fight is one instance of this.

B) It seems as if there are lots of people who seem to be hinting (or grasping) at a distinction known as linguistic appropriation, where a term is appropriated by a certain linguistic community and used in a way in which the semantic content of the term is MUCH different than the original semantic content. For example, consider the term "Hunk" - as first used, term was a derogatory expression for Hungarians; the term is now used as a superlative for an attractive male.

With that in mind, I am pretty sure that Kobe didn't utter the expression with the appropriated semantic content as he directed it to the official.

C) The discussion of this isn't a matter of sensitivity necessarily; this matters much from a business standpoint. If I ran a business (and I have worked in a management capacity throughout putting myself through undergrad), you better believe that I would discipline an employee if they used an epithet or a derogatory term towards another employee (as both referees and players fall under the business jurisdiction of the NBA). There's serious repeat business that I would worry about losing, and I would do whatever I could to persuade the client to return to my place of business if they overheard an employee saying such a term towards another. It reflects terribly on the people who use it, and the company. Bottom line is that the NBA doesn't exist without the people who purchase tickets/merchandise/sponsorships etc. So it would be better for the company line if the employees actually acted in a professional manner. This falls directly in line with the whole misguided blow-up about the NBA dress code a few years ago.

With that in mind, it is beguiling that Stern wasn't consistent in levying a fine against KG (if he did the exact same thing). I'll have to take a look into this. MM would you have any more details about it? My comments in section (C) are not a defense of David Stern, as he has done things to irk me with respect to the NBA. However, it would look better on his part if he applied fines for utterances of epithets more consistently (given that KG did the same exact thing).

D) Jon K. - I believe that the term used to refer to you was "N**ga" (a la Tupac, etc.) instead of the *actual* epithet, with the plural form spelled with either a "z" or an "s". So technically, they are two different terms with different semantic content.

Just a few thoughts with more to (possibly) come.

The man made a mistake and has apologized for it. What the hell more do they want? This world is full of people who has uttered comments that they know they should not have uttered. People are frikking killing each other in the streets daily and this is what they choose to blow out of poportion. People offended by what he said should accept or not accept the opology but get over this crap and move on with their lives.

As a Christian, I have a hard time when people get angry and use the Lord's name in vain. This occurs far more frequently than any other slur out there. No one is fined. No one issues apologies. The media could care less. People don't care. Sad.

Victoria,

Lord or God isn't His real name. So technically, nobody's taking the name in vain.

Dear Mr. Stern, I thought it would be a good time to voice something that has bugged me for years after seeing your statement regarding the recent gay slur by Kobe Bryant. In your response you use the phrase “distasteful term” and you also state “insensitive or derogatory comments are not acceptable and have no place in our game or society.” Yet watching the NBA, and I am a big fan, I am constantly seeing players use the “F” word. If you TRULY stand by your statement then why is that tolerated? In fact, I would love to bring my kids to see NBA games but I cannot because of what is said on the court every game. Do you consider the “F” word a “tasteful term”? I would love to hear your reasoning on this otherwise I could only come to the conclusion that the only reason you fined Kobe and made your statement as you did was only to be politically correct

@Never,

Do you go to class?

Jon K.,

I'm with you. I could care less about this. Kobe wasn't calling a homosexual, the oh my goodness, the f-word, I'm black and if someone calls me the N word I don't get my undies all in a bunch because I could care less what they say. Words can only hurt you if you're that weak minded or weak willed.

I love Kobe, I think he's a great guy cause he's real, not fake, we're so damn politically correct in this country and soooo hypocritical. Dude is on the sideline ranting and raving in a profanity laced tirade which is perfectly ok, just so long as he doesn't say the F word. Uh-huh that's sounds about right.

Stuff happens get over it!

We so busy griping about stuff that doesn't make a difference that the important things seem to just get over looked while we blow the smallest, yes this is small, things totally out of proportion. I'm sure this is not the first time he or many others had said it on a basketball court, won't be the last time either.

Jon K. is correct, among many men the F word is no different than the B-word, MF, etc. It ain't changing, cause guys say what they want to say and no gay or lesbian organization is going to change that regardless of how much they rant and rave about it being a slur.

We're morally bankrupted but we're politically correct! Yep, that sounds about right.

NBA4Ever,

"This coming from the same guy that has had not 2 or 3 women proposes to you but 40 to 50?"

It's more like 30-something.

Only one this year.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

Fan of the Mamba,

"Words can only hurt you if you're that weak minded or weak willed."

You are correct, sir!

If we propagate this truth, more people who would be offended will strengthen themselves and these taboo words will lose all power... which is the way it should be.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

>>>Can't we dicuss something less polarizing like ...abortion?

... of kittens... by clubbing them to death with elderly people.

>>>The posts above by Andrew Bynum weren't really written by him.


WHAT!!!?!??! I'm shocked.

Next you're going to tell me that those other posts weren't really written by God.

So what! What is the big deal. We say things like that on the court and that is what separate the men from the sissys.

@John K: Please stop preaching'Bro. The story is a dead horse. That said I do not want to watch a Laker Game with my son when Kobe (Leader of the NBA world) goes off and says something foolish. Try explaining that to your boy. That said, I believe he regret's it. $100,000 and a series of apologies is justified. He should know better. A word is just that true, but if kids and Homosexual NBA fans are watching Kobe has a responsibility to represent. By representing I mean being held to a higher standard. You get the rings you get respect-with that comes responsibility. Now let this go and let's focus on the positive- PLAYOFFS!

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, does it make a sound?

Undoubtedly, in my opinion, what Kobe said was in very poor taste and can be considered very offensive to the vast majority of people that heard about it. But, I'm guessing that the man he was directing the remark at, referee Bennie Adams, never heard the remark because Kobe did not say it loud enough for him to hear.

If Adams had heard what Kobe said, undoubtedly, he would have given Kobe a 2nd technical which would have resulted in Kobe's ejection from the Spurs' game and a one game suspension for the Kings' game. This became a hot button topic because the TNT camera caught Kobe in a vulnerable, foolish and regrettable moment.

I understand the comments may be offensive, but we can call refs blind, yet blind groups don't throw fits. We can call refs girls, but women don't come demanding fines in waves. I respect homosexuals and their decisions to live the lifestyles that they do, but why do they always have to be front and center with their incredibly thin skin?

Seriously Medina, shut up. Just stop. I know it would be politically incorrect for you to say, "Hey, this is totally great to say this!", but at least be honest. It's inappropriate? If you've ever played a physical, competitive thing in your life, you'll understand anything goes in "the heat of the moment." Boxers, hockey players, football players, the armed forces in the military, the coaches of teams, even people driving to work say far worse things when something suddenly doesn't go their way. Even WNBA players say worse things. And I'd bet my life that homosexual people say some awful things in the heat of the moment. And guess what? No one cares.

This would be different is Kobe chased the ref down, pointed at him and said, "I hate you for being homosexual and every f*ggot of your kind forever and ever!" THEN, sure, we would have an issue.

But even if the hated LeBron James was shown saying this by an ill-timed camera shot, it wouldn't be a big deal. It's time for the world to be realistic about each other and to grow some balls and grow up. Stop acting like you have such thin skin just to get attention and money while you play the victim. And it starts with the media taking a stand and saying, "So what?"

There's far more pressing issues in the world to focus on than this nonsense.

What is the word that Koby uttered. In all of the comments herein and all of the discussion on TV no one specified the word. Why is everyone scared to use it. It is just a word your choice to ignore or not.

Forget it Lakers and concentrate on the playoffs. You have not been playing well enough to take any game/team for granted.

Thank you Medina for your pledge to put this now non story to rest. Kobe said it, made amends. Enough. Let those who need a soap box like Beauchamp get a life and take their need to pawn hysterics to another venue.

The very fact that many of you commenters (Ron, for example) do not think Kobe's slur was anything worth writing about is proof enough that it IS. And I, for one, appreciate your comments, Mr. Beauchamp.

Are you serious? I guess you have never said profanity in your life. Kobe is wrong to say it, but you probably said thing you have regretted, but have I seen a column criticizing yourself on your mistake. Report on basketball and get a life.

Medina goes out of his way to not to criticize kobe. If he takes 50 shots medina will write no one else was being agressive so kobe had to shoot. Yet yall attack medina because this one time he had to criticize kobe justly. My my my you guys like jon k and eddie are fanatics. Some comments are inexcusable even if you have won 5 rings. Kobe is not used to being questioned so that is why initially he didn't apologize. Then he compounded the problem by saying he will appeal the fine. I though lebron was dumb but kobe takes the cake.

neither kobe nor lbj went to university but lebron is more cultured than kobe the babarian. Kobe almost broke joe smith arm with that vicious punch of the bench. But kobe has been on a roll offending different groups. he offended the koreans by making his poor korean maid dig into dog excrement with her bare hands to retrieve a trinket. Then he had the gall to sue the poor woman before settling out of court like in eagle. Then he offended the turkish community by starring in air turkey's airline commercial. Now he offended the wealthy and powerful gay community with his crude comments. Kobe is a bigot.

this is not an issue and this should never be matter worth penalizing even a thousand dollars...afterall, there never was an offense committed...bennie is bennie adams period...what is this stern is doing????!!!..he is no longer fit for his job....

Are you freaking kidding me? MM, did your boss force you to write this piece? Jeezzzzzzzzz!

hypocrite armchair bloggers to this post.

every one of you will at some time extol the virtues of sports and life, especially when your team wins. Team moments, giving your all, learning from defeat. Ever hear the phrase basketball is a metaphor for life? But when a teachable moment pops up as this has its considered not important. Its a story that has an arc and has been reached to its conclusion of Kobe articulating in a very adult like way what happens when sports and real life collide. I don't expect Kobe to be the ultimate role model, and yeah i've said some not so great things except i didn't have a camera on me but you get older and you gather "perspective".

If this was a bench guy from the Clippers he would have been fined and suspended. But since it's Kobe, one of the NBA's golden children and ratings kings especially since the playoffs are starting up there was no way in Hell that he was going to be suspended. Using a derogatory term of gays is alright if Kobe, LeBron, Wade or Rose use it, playoff ratings are much more important. So I'm guessing that if while on the court during a game an opposing player calls Kobe a dumb "N" it's ok as well? I think it is. One derogatory term deserves another.

We need to get the word out to religious communities that anti-gay people are twisting God's words to condone their hate.

Homosexuality is not a sin. The Bible is constantly being taken out of context to support anti-gay views. Scholars who have studied the Bible in context of the times and in relation to other passages have shown those passages (Leviticus, Corinthians, Romans, etc) have nothing to do with homosexuality. These passages often cherry-picked while ignoring the rest of the Bible. The sins theses passages are referring to are idolatry, Greek temple sex worship, prostitution, pederasty with teen boys, and rape, not homosexuality or two loving consenting adults.

(Change *** to www)
***.soulfoodministry.org/docs/English/NotASin.htm
***.jesus21.com/content/sex/bible_homosexuality_print.html
***.christchapel.com/reclaiming.html
***.stjohnsmcc.org/new/BibleAbuse/BiblicalReferences.php
***.gaychristian101.com/
***.mccchurch.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Resources&Template=/CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm&ContentID=2121
***.wouldjesusdiscriminate.org/biblical_evidence.html
***.soulforce.org/article/homosexuality-bible-gay-christian
***.goodhopemcc.org/spirituality/sexuality-and-bible/homosexuality-not-a-sin-not-a-sickness.html

Homosexuality is not a choice. Just like you don't choose the color of your skin, you cannot choose whom you are sexually attracted to. If you can, sorry, but you are not heterosexual, you are bi-sexual. Virtually all major psychological and medical experts agree that sexual orientation is NOT a choice. Most gay people will tell you its not a choice. Common sense will tell you its not a choice. While science is relatively new to studying homosexuality, studies tend to indicate that its biological.

(Change *** to www)
***-news.uchicago.edu/releases/03/differential-brain-activation.pdf
***.newscientist.com/channel/sex/dn14146-gay-brains-structured-like-those-of-the-opposite-sex.html
Gay, Straight Men's Brain Responses Differ
***.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,155990,00.html
***.livescience.com/health/060224_gay_genes.html
***.springerlink.com/content/w27453600k586276/

There is overwhelming scientific evidence that homosexuality is not a choice. Sexual orientation is generally a biological trait that is determined pre-natally, although there is no one certain thing that explains all of the cases. "Nurture" may have some effect, but for the most part it is biological.


And it should also be noted that:
"It is worth noting that many medical and scientific organizations do believe it is impossible to change a person's sexual orientation and this is displayed in a statement by American Academy of Pediatrics, American Counseling Association, American Association of School Administrators, American Federation of Teachers, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, American School Health Association, Interfaith Alliance Foundation, National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Social Workers, and National Education Association."

The National Library of Medicine pubs confirm that sexual orientation is natural, biologically induced in the first trimester of pregnancy, morally neutral, immutable, neither contagious nor learned, bearing no relation to an individuals ability to form deep and lasting relationships, to parent children, to work or to contribute to society.

From the American Psychological Association: homosexuality is normal; homosexual relationships are normal.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association and American Psychiatric Association have endorsed civil marriage for same-sex couples because marriage strengthens mental and physical health and longevity of couples, and provides greater legal and financial security for children, parents and seniors.

America's premier child/mental health associations endorse marriage equality.

This was taken from another poster that shows why we need to legalize gay marriage. If you don't feel for this person after reading it, you simply aren't human.

"I am not sure what our President thinks of this dicission but coming from a poor family and knowing what discrimination is all about I would assume he would not care if "Gays" have equal rights. The whole reason why they are asking for rights to be considered married is from the same reason why I would be for it. My own life partner commited suicide in our home with a gun to his heart. After a 28 year union I was deprived to even go his funeral. We had two plots next to each other. But because we did not have a marriage cirtificate "(Legal Document)" of our union his mother had him cremated and his ashes taken back to Missouri where we came from. That is only one example how painful it is. His suicide tramatized me so much and her disregard for my feelings only added to my heartach. That happened on March 21 of 2007 and I still cannot type this without crying for the trauma I have to endure each day. Oh did I mention I am in an electric wheelchair for life? Yes I am and it is very diffacult to find another mate when you are 58 and in a wheelchair. "

Someone's opinion that is worth more than most of the commenters here: John Amaechi, former African American NBA basketball player...some of what he wrote:

"I challenge you to freeze-frame Bryant’s face in that moment of conflict with the referee Bennie Adams. Really examine the loathing and utter contempt, and realize this is something with which almost every lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender person is familiar. That is the sentiment people face in middle and high schools, in places of worship, work and even in their own homes across the United States."

And in many of the comments above.

More here:
http://offthedribble.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/15/a-gay-former-player-responds-to-kobe-bryant/?partner=rss&emc=rss

People need to toughen up seriously, this country has turned so sensitive. Like none of us have ever said something offenseive out of anger. "Let he who is wothout sin.... you know the rest.

Are you suggesting, Matthew, that anything goes as long as there's an excuse for it?

If I were Kobe I would have told those Gay Rights activists "try to fine me all you want, you people are ridiculous! Taking a word so out of proportion. 'Anti-Gay slur', are you serious?! Are you that bored?! Do you have any idea how many ways that word can be used?! Why am I wasting my breath here."

What Kobe said was right and I'm glad he didn't just bend over and apologies for something so childish (no gay pun was intended there). It's so stupid when some high profile celebrity gets targeted and fined by a political group because 'he hurt my feelings'. He hurt your feelings because you twisted his words into a way to hurt your feelings.


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