According to TMZ, the NBA is reviewing tape of Kobe Bryant's homophobic tirade at last night's Spurs-Lakers game. Athletes clearly have not gotten the message that this language is not okay: The only appropriate course of action at this point would be to suspend Bryant for a playoff game. We've learned athletes don't learn from fines: You have to keep them off the court to send a message.
Within a couple hours of circulation of a video of Bryant calling a referee a "faggot," people across the country are condemning his comment. GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios is holding the Lakers accountable:
Discriminatory slurs have no place on or off the court. 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 LA Lakers have a responsibility to educate their fans about why this word is unacceptable.
Straight rugby star Ben Cohen was disappointed:
It is disappointing to see this. As a professional athlete and rugby World Cup champion, I understand the heat and passion of competition at the highest levels. But we must all remember that strong bodies must be balanced with strong characters, and work toward that end. Our positions as role models demand it.
The Human Rights Campaign called the incident a disgrace:
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.
LZ Granderson of ESPN said this is just the latest in a continually growing issue:
It's a little deal that lumps in with all the other little deals we let go unchecked because, well, it's sports. Like snowflakes gathering near the top of a mountain, each is harmless -- until there's an avalanche. Instead of the TNT announcers suggesting the cameras cut away from Kobe's tirade, it would have been nice for them to denounce what was being said as unacceptable. It's a slur, not a figure of speech -- end of story.
Of course there's also been the flip side. Some guy named Zach Rambaud, whose Twitter account is TornadoZRam, continued Bryant's rant:
That is the language and attitude Bryant's slur has inspired. There's only one way to go with this: Suspend Kobe Bryant!