Last week, Kobe Bryant made a judgment call in the heat of the moment that he is now literally paying for over and over again. If you missed it, the L.A. Laker lashed out about receiving a technical foul, calling the ref a "f***-ing [gay slur]," as he sat down on the bench. He did make a public apology soon thereafter, which is the very least you'd expect in a situation like this. But then the NBA slapped him with a $100,000 fine, issuing a statement that said, “Insensitive or derogatory comments ... have no place in our game."
The Lakers announced a partnership with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation to keep anti-gay slurs out of basketball. And now, the Lakers are continuing the damage control campaign with a public service announcement about how "words can be hurtful."
Too bad you can totally tell Kobe is less than thrilled.
In the PSA, he notes that it's our differences that make us special and whether someone is different in race, ethnicity, political beliefs, religion, or sexual orientation, words can be hurtful. We should "replace them with compassion, understanding, and acceptance." Because "we're all in this together!" (Cue High School Musical soundtrack.)
I'm sure he's already sick to death of this whole thing and wishes it would just go away, but he screwed up and now he's paying for it ... big time.
I have to say I'm pretty impressed with the PSA being made in the first place and that the NBA and the Lakers seem to be taking this so seriously. They could have just required that Bryant issue the public apology, perhaps pay a fine, and then proceed to brush it under the rug. But instead, they're really trying to go out of their way to make it right.
I just keep thinking about how so many young people watch basketball and see their favorite players as icons. They aspire to be just like them, so when a hateful slur comes out of a pro-athlete's mouth, there is like a domino effect of negative consequences. That's why, although it may seem like Bryant's being pummeled for this -- it's barely enough.
I'm all for the Lakers working on an ongoing basis with GLAAD. Because hopefully that kind of partnership can preempt more spewing of hate -- even if it "only" comes in the form of a heated remark or off-the-cuff comment.
Here's the PSA, if you want to check it out ...
Do you think Kobe Bryant and/or the Lakers could still do more to make this right?
Image via YouTube