The NBA has slapped Kobe Bryant with a hefty fine for uttering what the league calls “inexcusable” homophobic language against a referee during the Lakers vs. Spurs game this week. The basketball star's foul language will come with a $100,000 fine.
Bryant quickly issued an apology statement after news broke of the initial incident and said his words do not reflect his feelings about the gay and lesbian community. But even though he admitted to using the slur and said it was “wrong,” he told ESPN radio that he’s appealing the fine and said he was just frustrated in the heat of the game.
For NBA officials that’s no excuse. "While I'm fully aware that basketball is an emotional game, such a distasteful term should never be tolerated," NBA Commissioner David Stern said in a statement. “Kobe and everyone associated with the NBA know that insensitive or derogatory comments are not acceptable and have no place in our game or society."
The controversy comes at a time when the NBA was already planning a public service announcement campaign with the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in order to present the league as being more "gay friendly."
(Photo: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)