Kobe Bryant better watch his mouth!
The Human Rights Campaign is speaking out against the NBA player after he mutterd a homophobic slur during yesterday's [April 12] L.A. Lakers game against the San Antiono Spurs. After referee Bennie Adams called a technical foul on Bryant, TNT cameras caught the ballplayer hitting a chair, throwing a towel, yelling at the ref and ultimately mouthing what appeared to be “f—ing f—got.”
TNT analyst Steve Kerr even noted, “You might want to take the camera off him right now for the children watching at home,” during the tantrum.
Following the incident, HRC, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, called Kobe out for the apparent slur and told TMZ they were “disgusted” with his choice of words. "Hopefully Mr. Bryant will recognize that as a person with such fame and influence, the use of such language not only offends millions of LGBT people around the world, but also perpetuates a culture of discrimination and hate that all of us, most notably Mr. Bryant, should be working to eradicate," the organization said.
Bryant issued a statement today and admitted to using the slur, but said his outburst did not reflect his feelings about the gay community. "What I said last night should not be taken literally,” he said in the statement. "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," he added.
The Lakers went on to defeat the Spurs 102–93, but Kobe could’ve lost a few fans. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) echoed HRC's statment and said they have no tolerance for the slur. "Discriminatory slurs have no place on or off the court," said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. "Professional sports players need to set a better example for young people who use words like this on the playground and in our schools, creating a climate of intolerance and hostility. The L.A. Lakers have a responsibility to educate their fans about why this word is unacceptable."
GLAAD has reached out to the Lakers and will provide updates on GLAADBlog.org.
(Photo: Harry How/Getty Images)