Home > NBA > A Few Words Singled Out Among Many – Kobe Bryant

A Few Words Singled Out Among Many – Kobe Bryant

New York – We have seen plenty of suspensions and fines around sports that are handed down to athletes and coaches who act of line verbally. Whether the words are directed to the opposing players, referees, coaches, fans or even the national audience that is watching; a professional sports athlete is never safe when it comes to opening their mouth.

Earlier this month, Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant, was fined $100,000 by the NBA for using a gay slur during a game against the San Antonio Spurs. The 13-time all-star was caught on camera yelling at a referee after a technical foul had been called on him and while there is no audio to back it up, anyone with eyes can read the words that come out of Bryant’s mouth.

It was evident that Bryant was disgusted with the call and that his emotions got the best of him. After the fine had been dropped on him, he was forced to confront the matter and apologized to anyone that was offended, making several calls to Human Rights officials and even contributing to a PSA about homophobic slurs.

This is Kobe after realizing $100,000 was taken from him...not a care in the world.

But what really makes me wonder is why people were so upset about the act and why was Kobe singled out as if he has been the only athlete to ever has his words caught on camera? Yes, Bryant stepped out of line in using the slur and it was something that he should not have done, but that is the nature of the beast. With the camera being focused star athletes for a majority of the game, at some point, you are going to catch them doing something against “protocol”.

And don’t even get me started on the $100,000 fine that doesn’t even make a dent in Bryant’s wallet. It was an obligated move that the NBA had to pursue to put at ease those who were offended.

Brad Vipperman, who covers the Lakers on the Bleacher Report summed it up well and states, “Why can funny movies, which are not just seen by millions more people than an NBA game but are seen over and over again on TV and DVD, get away with degrading gay culture on purpose?  And yet, Kobe gets fined the average yearly income of over three American households for using it without thinking in the heat of battle?”

 For a person that has watched countless sporting events on television, I have heard and seen much worse when it comes to professional sports. With the technology that is incorporated today, there are practically microphones on the playing surface so every little word can be interpreted to the audience.

So why was Bryant singled out? We didn’t actually hear him say the slur; we could only read his lips. It was the TNT commentators that said they should turn the camera away from Bryant “for the kids watching at home” making it obvious that something was said that shouldn’t have been.

 Was it because the derogatory term has been associated with the anti-gay culture of today’s generation? There is no question about it.

But how come NONE of the professional sports organizations have addressed other insulting slurs that players use? You can hear word-for-word what football and hockey players say during a game, but no action is taken against them when they use an insulting or offensive word. It goes unannounced like it never happened. So either every sport should take a tip from the NBA and start conducting an investigation into what their players say out on the field or leave it at that, not for nothing, they are just words.

Finally, how is right that Roger McDowell, the Atlanta Braves pitching coach is suspended ONLY two weeks for making homophobic slurs at FANS in San Francisco before a game just days later? He wasn’t on the diamond expressing his emotions to the opposing team or an umpire. He blatantly targeted an innocent man and his family at the game and made sexual gestures towards them, while threatening them with a baseball bat. Asking a fan how much his teeth are worth seems a little more drastic than using a slur that no one actually heard during an emotional game.

The two weeks suspension and “sensitivity training” that McDowell received as a punishment? Harsh is a word at the other side of the spectrum. Does anyone have any idea what “sensitivity training” actually is? Me neither.

Ironically, the words that were seen and not heard from Bryant are front and center with no one asking questions about an event that was far greater in my eyes

Categories: NBA
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