The 2010-11 NBA season has featured many ugly moments for the up-and-down Lakers. But the insult aimed last night at referee Bennie Adams by Kobe Bryant after a technical foul call is one of the ugliest, an apparent homophobic slur (“f*cking f*gg*t”) caught on national TV by TNT cameras.
At this early stage, the most thoughtful take on Bryant’s behavior comes from USC student John Krolik via NBC’s ProBasketballTalk.com. He does a great job of delving past the easy, obvious outrage:
Does the word that Kobe used get used by professional athletes almost every day, in every locker room, without any cameras or tape recorders catching it? Absolutely. In fact, during a playoff game a few seasons ago, Kevin Garnett was actually caught screaming the exact same thing that Kobe screamed…
I’m not calling for Bryant’s head… What I would like is for some good to come out of this being caught on tape… Kobe has an opportunity to clear up his feelings about homosexuals and whether or not he believes the word he used is or is not acceptable language. I hope he takes advantage of it, and that the NBA becomes just a bit more welcoming than it would have been otherwise.
Excellent work by Krolik, who also blogs for The New York Times’ Off the Dribble as well as sites dedicated to the Cavaliers and Heat. Kobe, ball’s in your court.
Update – 04/13/11: Bryant has been fined $100,000 by the NBA for his offensive sideline comment. He also followed up an issued statement with some thoughtful comments on ESPN Radio’s “Mason and Ireland” show.