Thursday, April 14, 2011
Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant was fined 100k by NBA commissioner David Stern for using a gay slur during a game. Bryant has apologized for the incident, and plans on appealing the fine.
The All-Star guard apparently was upset after being whistled for a technical foul, and hurled the slur at referee Bennie Adams. Unfortunately, the cameras were on Kobe (as they usually are). Bryant, known throughout the league as a fierce competitor with an extremely short fuse, will not have to miss any playoff games if further punishment is issued.
The league did what it had to do on this issue, especially with a high-profile player such as Bryant. This is an athlete who has the second highest selling jersey in the league and is on TV night in and night out. As a result, Stern’s actions were praised by various gay and lesbian communities across the country.
In Bryant’s defense, he said something in the heat of the moment that likely gets tossed around several times in an NBA game. Basketball players are notorious trash talkers, and we have several examples of guys taking it too far. Bryant got caught, and saying these comments to an official rather than an opposing player probably deserves a stronger punishment. While the NBA did the right thing, it is foolish to think this will cut down on NBA trash talk or force athletes to choose their words more carefully during games.
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