The league has fined the Lakers star $100,000 for the infraction, which commissioner David Stern has called “offensive and inexcusable.”
As we reported earlier, Bryant stormed over to the bench after drawing a technical foul last night against the San Antonio Spurs. He then threw a towel to the ground and yelled, “Bernie! F–king fa–ot!” toward ref Bernie Adams.
Bryant issued a statement about the incident this afternoon indicating that he regretted the slur, although he stopped short of apologizing for it.
“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.”
Stern was not pleased with the incident, making the following statement.
“While I’m fully aware that basketball is an emotional game, such a distasteful term should never be tolerated,” he said. “Accordingly, I have fined Kobe $100,000. Kobe and everyone associated with the NBA know that insensitive or derogatory comments are not acceptable and have no place in our game or society.”
As for the Lakers organization, they aren’t saying much…”We haven’t seen the video, so it would be inappropriate for us to comment on it.”
The Lakers are battling the Mavericks for the second seed in the West. They beat the Spurs 102-93 on Tuesday.
Bryant now has 15 technical fouls on the season after the league rescinded what would have been number 15 on Monday. Last night’s foul officially puts him at 15 once again. If he draws another technical tonight, Bryant would be suspended for the first game of next season as technical foul counts reset once the playoffs begin.
Stern’s harsh criticism was well received by gay-rights organizations who want more of an apology from both Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.
“We applaud Commissioner Stern and the NBA for not only fining Bryant but for recognizing that slurs and derogatory comments have no place on the basketball court or in society at large,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “We hope such swift and decisive action will send a strong and universal message that this kind of hateful outburst is simply inexcusable no matter what the context.”
The Human Rights Campaign, a civil rights organization for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders, issued the following statement: “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.”
Jarrett Barrios, current president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation also released a statement regarding Bryant’s slur.
“Discriminatory slurs have no place on or off the court,” he said. “Professional sports players need to set a better example for young people who use words like this on the playground and in our schools, creating a climate of intolerance and hostility. The L.A. Lakers have a responsibility to educate their fans about why this word is unacceptable.”
In the end, $100,000 is probably just a drop in the bucket to Kobe Bryant, but athletes and celebrities in general need to know that the f-word is offensive and is not acceptable on any level.
You can view the original video of Bryant uttering the gay slur here.
- Kobe Bryant fined $100,000 for gay slur (abclocal.go.com)
- Kobe Bryant Fined $100,000 For Gay Slur, David Stern Announces (sbnation.com)
- Kobe Bryant Fined $100,000 for Anti-Gay Slur (towleroad.com)