As sports host Bomani Jones said on ESPN’s Around the Horn, “You can’t use any of the words with two g’s back to back in them.” It’s indefensible.
Nevertheless, Kobe said them. Stern fined him. $100k for the NBA coffers.
Whoo hoo. Kinda.
1. Kobe should have received a second technical for throwing the chair and then a towel after he received the first technical. Then ejected from the game. Trash talking is one thing. Some of it goes over the line, but slurs are totally different. If technicals are subjectively given to NBA players for unacceptable facial expressions and gestures, explicit slurs should receive no less.
2. While Kobe’s apology to referee Bennie Adams is admirable, Kobe’s public apology is crap … “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.”
“F**king king F*ggot” insinuates that the other person is gay and that’s wrong. Fine, if you think homosexuality is wrong, that’s your right. But just as the words Black and Hispanic are acceptable, n***er, and sp*c are not. The latter, like f*ggot, are meant to denigrate the other person. They are uttered to put the other person figuratively in a position of power beneath the speaker. We know that. Kobe knows that. So sorry Kobe, you did mean them literally. That they were said during the “heat of the game” is also no excuse. That you didn’t mean “to offend anyone” is laughable. I’m offended and I’m not gay. That the words do not reflect your “feelings” towards being gay insults intelligence. Let a non-Black person call me a coon or n***er and I know exactly how they feel. Let me call them a cracker or h**key and we both are clear. That you admit you’ve said these words during many games totally makes one question the sincerity of ‘you now getting it.’
This is not about political correctness, which I feel goes way too far too often. It’s not about free speech, which I support. It’s not about whether one approves, disapproves, or could care less about someone’s sexual orientation. It’s not about this is a “story” because it involves one of the league’s premier players, or a player I don’t particularly like. If the words were said in the same manner by Theo Ratliff or Brian Scalabrine or Derek Rose, they would still be unacceptable and indefensible. This is about attitudes and behavior. This is about tolerance. This is about us as a society.
Stern’s fine and statement were right. It’s also right that we teach and speak that slurs used to despise are despicable behavior. Most of all it’s right that unless more occurs, this story should no longer be media fodder. We learn, we teach, we move on.