What do you say to Kobe Bryant? | Not in Our Town

What do you say to Kobe Bryant?

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant's anti-gay slur to a referee at Tuesday night's game has caused a stir. Though Bryant has apologized, he's appealing the NBA's $100,000 fine.

Former gay NBA player John Amaechi responded to Bryant's slur in a New York Times NBA Blog post. He wrote:

"Kobe Bryant isn’t some great, bigoted monster, as some have implied, but he isn’t the innocent victim of some overblown one-off incident about a word that’s 'not even that bad,' either.

This controversy is not a storm in a teacup turned into a vendetta by loony liberals, as many in the sports world seem to think. What our heroes say and do means something — and in an America where sports stars carry more influence and in some cases more credibility than senators, what they say matters more than ever."

In the post, Amaechi asks Bryant to stop fighting the fine and notes the basketball star is "powerful enough to make an important change in the way we look at real equality  in sports and in general."

The New Civil Rights Project has written about this extensively. In this article, David Badash writes:

"Ironically, Bryant’s words could not have been more relevant. Just hours earlier the NBA, the Ad Council, and GLSEN had been taping a public service announcement against anti-gay language as part of GLSEN’s 'Think Before You Speak' campaign, to be aired during the NBA finals, in an effort to show the league as more 'gay-friendly.' And this week marks the fifteenth anniversary of GLSEN’s 'Day of Silence,' an effort during which 'hundreds of thousands of students nationwide take a vow of silence to bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in their schools,' according to GLSEN."

Today, Not In Our Town community leader Jim Hennigan pointed us to an example of how a community in Brazil responded to another anti-gay incident in sports. This time, it was the crowd at a semifinal Brazillian volleyball match that chanted the same anti-gay slur at a particular player. The incident prompted the player to admit he was gay. He also said the incident has been "very traumatic."

Asterisk has this to say about the response:

"...the outpouring of support for Michael has been tremendous. The brazenness of the crowd’s bigotry seems to have surprised a lot of people and called them to action.

At the second semi-final match on last Saturday, the team wore pink warmup shirts to show support, and the team’s  libero wore a rainbow jersey during the match.

Support from the team

Support from the team

The crowd unfurled a gigantic banner reading Vôlei Futuro Against Prejudice

Vôlei Futuro Against Prejudice

Vôlei Futuro Against Prejudice

Then the crowd used thundersticks emblazoned with Michael’s name to turn the stadium pink!

A pink stadium. Wow.

A pink stadium. Wow. ...

Americans, this is how it’s done. Don’t make excuses for the perpetrator like many are for Kobe Bryant (see comments). Instead, stand against prejudice and homophobia wherever they’re found. That’s how society becomes better for all of us.

Michael during the game

Michael during the game"

What do you think? Is this how it's done? What do you say to basketball star Kobe Bryant?



Enough already with all of the gay slurs..Man up Kobe, you know you can afford the fine. Be a man apologize and think about what you're saying and what you're teaching our future.

The media needs to grow up as well..the way this was handled as well as the J Crew ad...people GROW UP! Words will scar alot longer than a mother painting her sons toe nails...one he's a child, playing with his mother. Two it comes off...three would you rather she ignored her child and told him to go to his room and play some video games COME ON!

 How can you stop bullying when it is being promoted by a school adminstrator.  One of our athletic directors actively bullies some kids who do not fit into his idea of a student athlete. My child is a fairly good athlete but he is put down by others on the team and the athletic director knows that is going on but does absolutely nothing.  In fact he is the guardian of one of the kids that is consistly putting my child down.   What can a parent do, especially when you have gone to the school board and they do nothing.  I am glad that this is the last year for our family's involvement with this school system.  

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