Sounds like Kobe Bryant has gotten himself into hot water again. This time, the L.A. Laker is coming across like a homophobic hothead after receiving a technical foul during last night's game, storming back to the bench, and clearly calling referee Bennie Adams "a f***-ing [gay slur]." The Lakers won't confirm whether that's what Kobe said or not, which is sort of a joke, because it was caught on national TV by TNT cameras, and it's very obvious that's exactly what he said.
My first thoughts are that it's not like this is anything new. Pro athletes probably use horrific, hateful language in the heat of the moment -- during a fight with another player, while getting up in refs' faces disputing a call, etc. -- all the time. BUT that doesn't mean that it's excusable or that behavior like that shouldn't be called out.
Do I think this means Kobe IS a homophobic hothead? Hothead, yes, homophobic -- ehhh ... that's up for debate.
I don't know the guy, and I can only guess that he just throws words around like that, because they're in his "anger vocabulary." It feels like over time, depending on what you hear and pick up from those around you, you accumulate certain foul-mouthed expressions that just bubble to the surface when you're angry. Not that that's right, but it just is. I mean, when I'm really pissed off, I can't believe some of the stuff that comes out of my mouth!
However, I'd NEVER use the gay slur he used. It's just not on my register; I have utter disdain for use of the word, and whenever I hear a friend use it in "jest," I usually try to gently tell them that I don't appreciate it.
And similarly, I don't appreciate Kobe using it -- even if it was in the heat of the moment. It shouldn't be "acceptable," just because it has made its way into some athletes', some comedians', and some everyday Joes' and Janes' consciousness. Just like use of a racial slur is 99.9 percent wrong, and I can't think of any time or place where it would be appropriate, except maybe for satirical use. But eh, still not a fan of that usually.
I'm not talking about censoring freedom of speech or get the NBA to condemn players who spout off when they're angry.
What I would like to see is what USC student and writer John Krolik proposed ... Kobe needs to turn this incident into an opportunity. Make lemonade of lemons, if you will. Turn around and say, "Hey, what I said was wrong, I'm sorry, I'm not a homophobe, and using this kind of language is unacceptable." It would be the right thing to do.
Do you think Kobe should apologize for what he said?
Image via Bridget Samuels/Flickr