Wednesday, April 20th, Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 by the NBA for calling a ref an extremely derogatory homophobic term. Angry after what he thought was an unfair call, after punching a chair and throwing his towel on the floor in disgust, he preceded use an offensive term against a referee that said he had made a foul play. It is not known if he knew he was being recorded at the time, or simply did not care in his moment of rage. Bryant’s comment didn’t go unnoticed by NBA Commissioner David Stern.
Stern went on to explain that Bryant’s comments were not welcome despite the pressures in basketball and would not be tolerated. Bryant issued a formal apology, stating that his actions were an outburst made during the heat of the game and that his comments weren’t intended to be offensive, and that they are not a reflection of his feelings towards gay and lesbian communities.
Pro gay-rights groups have been accepting of the apologies from both the NBA and Bryant, but have also stated that sports teams need to reject this behavior at its roots, leading by example for the younger generation who may not understand that this is not acceptable.
This is isn’t the first time Bryant has been in hot water. In 2003 he was arrested and had claimed to have been involved in a sexual assault that made worldwide headlines, but was later dropped. Bryant is considered one of the most popular people in basketball, selling more jerseys than any other players.