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Fans Continue To Pay Respects To Kobe Bryant At Memorial Outside Of Staples Center And Around L.A.

Source: Kevork Djansezian / Getty

Kobe Bryant’s tragic death on Sunday was exacerbated with a slew of missteps when it comes to ethics and journalism. From TMZ’s decision to break the story before informing his family members, to misreporting involving who was on board the doomed helicopter, and how many lives were lost.

Once it was confirmed that Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven other precious lives had perished in an instant, a global period of mourning ensued. But it did not go without saying that the events of the day deserved responsibility, better handling and most importantly, sensitivity.

Following the tweets and shares regarding Bryant’s undeniable impact on sports, a Washington Post journalist named Felicia Sonmez tweeted out a link to Kobe’s 2003 sexual assault case, where the ex-Laker was accused of engaging in non-consensual sex with a white, female, 19-year-old hotel employee in Colorado. The trial was later dropped and the involved parties were able to reach an undisclosed settlement. The case was heavily followed and offered a dark perspective on the NBA legend, who at the time was playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. And Sonmez, who is a sexual assault victim, was obviously triggered by the celebrations around Bryant’s life.

The case is indeed a stain on Bryant’s legacy, and in no way can be explained away or pushed to the side. As critics grew louder regarding the purpose and timing of her tweet, the Post made an unprecedented move and suspended her from her position. The move in turn inspired conversations regarding censuring, timing, and revisionist history. After the backlash over Sonmez’s suspension’s grew louder, she was cleared to return back to work on Wednesday, according to NBC Washington.

But in totality, while Kobe Bryant is a public persona and open to critique, it remained paramount that his death deserved pause and nuance. This was a man who in the aftermath of his accusation, led his life in reflection of his decisions and unlike some of his contemporaries who were faced with the same accusations (Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, Jerry Epstein, Robert Kelly and Russell Simmons), acknowledged his indiscretions and followed through with action. That was a necessary component left out of Bryant’s damning critique.

On Wednesday, just 72 hours after Bryant’s death, journalist and Daily Blast Live host Lindsey Granger offered a succinct and thorough perspective on why Kobe Bryant, the man and his legacy deserved more than what he’s been offered.

“As a journalist, it’s our job to objectively report the news. I know that would be tough on someone who survived sexual assault. But when I’m looking at the story, she didn’t give the story any context. And she got upset that she was being attacked on Twitter for tweeting a link that basically was condemning Kobe’s character and accusing him of rape.”

Granger continued, saying the story needed more context and responsibility, one that a trained journalist should be able to give. “Go to The Washington Post and say, this man is a nuanced character, this man has a detailed, layered history that we need to discuss. But don’t just tweet that out and be the political reporter for The Washington Post and tweet that and leave it there. Because you’re leaving yourself open to the attacks that you’re now receiving.”

Granger pointed out that journalism as a whole has been diminished and devalued, leaving the definition of what it means to practice it, upended. And she used clear examples, Trump’s insistence on calling news, “fake news,” TMZ’s mishandling of breaking the news of Bryant’s death, and the Vanity Fair and Harper’s Bazaar reporter’s who criticized seven-year-old Blue Ivy regarding her features.

“We need to do better, altogether as journalist. And I look at this woman and I say it was your responsibility just to do better and give it more time than two hours after the man passes away to say what you think about him if it’s negative. And don’t hide behind an article,” Granger continued

Granger referred to Gilllian Sheldon, a journalist who extensively covered Bryant’s case who said, “How can we use someone’s worse day on this earth as a referendum on their character in totality?”

“And we’ve seen this story time and time again too many times when it’s a Black man and a white woman that’s an accuser when that’s a story that goes down and he just goes and gets convicted by the public jury,” Granger said. “And we’ve seen the story too many times where women who have been sexually assaulted, cannot give their voice to the public and are not given the space they need to share the story.”

Watch Granger’s powerful reflection below.


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