A not so funny thing happened last night in the NBA, again. Kobe Bryant opened his mouth to give a referee what-for, and something very stupid and very tragic fell out of it.
Last night, the Los Angeles Lakers hosted the San Antonio Spurs in a game that was really more of a media frenzy than anything else. After all, these are essentially the top two teams in the NBA’s Western Conference with just a single game left in the regular season for most teams. As a result of this media attention, there were plenty of cameras around to capture another one of Kobe’s unfortunate moments.
We all know that things are said and done in the heat of battle—even in the heat of a basketball game—that wouldn’t normally be said or done in a less hostile or competitive setting. However, none of this excuses the behavior, and certainly not the fact that Kobe Bryant yelled a homophobic slur ,F**king f**got”, at referee Bennie Adams.
Kobe had this to say today: “What I said last night should not be taken literally. My actions were out of frustration during the heat of the game, period. The words expressed do not reflect my feelings towards the gay and lesbian communities and were not meant to offend anyone.”
So, we get an explanation but no apology? That’s really the worst of it, isn’t it? We’ve all said and done things we regret, but explanations are generally a waste of time and unnecessary because they’re obvious to anyone paying attention. What is necessary is an apology.
I’m not sure if Kobe does or does not harbor these feelings and attitudes towards the LGBT community, but looking them in the eyes and offering a heartfelt apology is clearly the order of the day. When millions see you as a role model, doing the right thing—even after doing the wrong thing—is the mark of a mature adult who realizes he’s not perfect.