Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant reminded the world last night of the prevalent homophobia in the world of athletics. After receiving his 15th technical foul of the season, Bryant had a violent tantrum on the bench, captured by the cameras, including calling the referee a “fucking fag.” Watch it:
The Human Rights Campaign reacted, calling Bryant’s language “horribly offensive and distasteful” and reminding him that it “perpetuates a culture of discrimination and hate that all of us… should be working to eradicate.”
A 2009 study of sports reporters revealed that 65 percent report homophobia is an issue in men’s sports and only 20 percent felt an athlete who came out would be accepted by fans and other athletes.
Activist Sean Chapin has created a Facebook page calling for Bryant’s apology.
Bryant has released a statement, saying:
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.
The statement did not include an apology nor an explanation for how the words “fucking fag” could be used without offending anyone.