Anti-Gay Comment Costs Kobe Bryant $100,000 Fine
By B. Hutson
When will basketball players get it through their heads that they are not invincible and sooner or later, there will be repercussions for their actions? Well, in less than 48 hours, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant found out what it meant to be held accountable for his actions as he faced criticism for his use of a gay slur earlier this week.
During Tuesday night’s game against San Antonio, Bryant became irritated after he was called for an offensive foul and received his 15th technical foul of the season. He went on to punch a chair on the Lakers’ bench, threw down a towel and yelled out to referee Bennie Adams before uttering “f—ing foolio.”
It didn’t take very long for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, to call Bryant out about his comments. Besides issuing a statement that called Bryant a “disgrace,” the organization tapped into the power of social media and demanded that Bryant offer an apology.
Early Wednesday, Bryant issued a statement, saying that his comments “should not be taken literally” and that his “actions were out of frustration during the heat of the game. The words expressed do not reflect my feelings towards the gay and lesbian communities and were not meant to offend anyone,” he said.
But Bryant isn’t out of the fire yet because the NBA is fining him $100,000 for his homophobic slur.
Fred Sainza, VP of communication for HRC, told Forbes that “this entire set of big, impactful developments went from start to finish in record breaking time.” Without the assistance of social media, “a few years ago it would have taken days, if not weeks, for this issue to have fully developed,” he said.