Kobe Bryant sorry; Lakers make plan
The team and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) announced a working relationship on Friday, the same day Bryant apologized again.
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NBA commissioner David Stern says he was comfortable with his punishment of Lakers guard Kobe Bryant for using a slur on the bench during a game. Plus, Stern says the finances they shared with the players show that some teams are losing money.
"What happened in Tuesday night's game is not representative of what the Lakers stand for," Lakers spokesman John Black said. "We want to reaffirm our commitment to all our fans and our appreciation for the support we receive from all segments of society.
"We also understand the importance of positive messages in helping us convey this," Black added. "We appreciate the input we've received from GLAAD the past two days and will look forward to working with them on ways to help educate ourselves and our fans, and to help keep language like this out of our game."
Bryant was hit with a technical foul against the Spurs on Tuesday, stormed back to the bench and uttered a gay slur toward referee Bennie Adams. The moment was caught on camera and quickly caused an uproar.
The league condemned Bryant's words and fined the Lakers star $100,000.
Bryant responded by saying: "The comment that I made, even though it wasn't meant in the way it was perceived to be, is nonetheless wrong, so it's important to own that."
Appearing Friday on "The Dan Patrick Show", Bryant took his apology a step further.
"It was just stupid and ignorant," Bryant said. "In this situation, seeing how many people were affected, it helps you understand the weight that comes from that word. That's why it's very important for me to communicate how sorry I am to use the word."
While vowing Thursday to work with advocacy groups to "prohibit violence, to prohibit hate crimes," Bryant also said that he will appeal the league's fine. And that has one gay former NBA player frustrated.
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"Kobe, stop fighting the fine," said John Amaechi in a New York Times editorial piece. "You spoke ill-advised words that shot out like bullets, and if the e-mails I received from straight and gay young people and sports fans in Los Angeles alone are anything to go by, you did serious damage with your outburst."
Saying that "Bryant isn't some great, bigoted monster, as some have implied," Amaechi also wrote that calling someone gay to denigrate is both common and dangerous.
"Right now in America young people are being killed and killing themselves simply because of the words and behaviors they are subjected to for being perceived as lesbian or gay, or frankly just different," he wrote.
Bryant told "The Dan Patrick Show" that he thinks the "commissioner did a great job" and that he appealed the fine as a matter of process. He said he hopes something positive comes from the experience, which is what GLAAD expressed as well.
"In light of this slur, there is a real opportunity to build support for our community and educate fans of Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the NBA about the use of such words," said GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios. "The Los Angeles Lakers have taken a positive step and we look forward to working with them to create messages from players and coaches that combat bullying. We also suggested and will continue to advocate for zero tolerance policies for anti-gay slurs at home games, similar to what the New York Yankees adopted last year."