As you saw in the Roundup this morning, Kobe Bryant was caught on camera using a homophobic slur on the bench last night after receiving a technical foul. Both the Human Rights Campaign and Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation have released statements concerning their displeasure with Kobe.
Here’s the statement from the HRC:
“What a disgrace for Kobe Bryant to use such horribly offensive and distasteful language, especially when millions of people are watching. 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.”
“What I said last night should not be taken literally,” he said. “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.”
Uh-oh. He forgot to say he shouldn’t have ever used that word. I don’t think this is over… and before I could publish, there’s another HRC statement in my inbox:
HRC called on the Lakers organization to weigh in on the slur, given both the prominence of Bryant and the influence he wields on and off the court.
“For better or worse, Kobe Bryant has created a teachable moment for the millions of fans – many of them young – who saw that outburst on the floor,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “And the right thing to do now is to apologize and take responsibility for suggesting that the worst thing you can do to someone is to scream out a gay slur. This kind of homophobic outburst has dangerous consequences, even more so when it comes from a celebrity in the national spotlight.”
Your move Kobe.