The question I asked last week is now answered by the NBA.
The league will impose its style of political correctness on fans—and you can take it or leave it.
LA Laker star Kobe Bryant is being fined $100,000 for a homophobic slur he belted out at a referee who had just given him a technical foul. This on the same day the NBA was preparing its video segments on “Gay, “Lesbian and Straight Week,” to air during the NBA Finals. Seriously? You can’t make this stuff up. Grant Hill was taping the promos the same day Kobe committed his unforgiveable sin. The NBA has taken it upon itself to tell me that I’m supposed to be nice to gay, lesbian and straight people? My mom taught me that when I was young and you are not my mom NBA Commissioner David Stern (wait, was that a “slur?”)
Kobe called ref Bennie Adams a “f***ing f*gg*t.” (Did I put enough asterisks in there so that I don’t get in trouble for a slur?) I’m not sure what Bennies sexual preference(s) is/are, and I don’t care—and by the way, I guessing Kobe doesn’t either.
This comes on the heels of the LA Clippers hosting an Equality Night for Equality California, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights group. When will they hold Tea Party night in the Staples Center? How about a Tex Day Rally opposing higher taxes every April 15th?
Openly gay sports writer L.Z. Granderson of ESPN came to Kobe’s rescue, sort of, by saying, “When it comes to homophobia, nothing surprises me….he finally apologized so that means he’s listening.” Listening? LZ, you’re a sportswriter and you actually think superstar players listen? Not sure which sports you’ve been covering.
The sports world is all in a buzz about this because its writers get to do something truly meaningful and important to society, they can change the world (so they believe,) but they also have a quandary here. Kobe is a multi-millionaire minority himself so they cannot be too harsh on him for saying what he said against another minority group and as a result, they all end up twisting themselves into pretzels trying to be more politically correct than the next guy, or gal, or LBGT, or straight, or …
BTW, it should be mentioned here that Kobe was not fined a single penny by the NBA after his rape case in 2003-2004. Bryant admitted to having sex with the gal and settled out of court with the victim (the $4 million ring to his wife does not count as an NBA fine.) So possibly raping a 19 year old girl in her hotel room Colorado gets you no fine by the NBA—using a homophobic slur against a ref during the heat of battle gets you $100k. Ya, that makes sense. Maybe some were offended by NBA Players Association executive director Billy Hunter calling Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 “disappointing and disturbing.” Should he be fined? Nope, the media and the NBA love what Hunter said.
For those of us who have sat courtside at NBA games, none of this is surprising. I’ve told many of my friends that the first time they see an NBA game courtside, they are in for an interesting experience. It’s a battleground that if not for the prudish. The actions, the words, the sweat and the brutality that you see away from the ball is nothing like you see on TV. It is definitely R-rated and sometimes X-rated. For the NBA to try to act saintly now and pretend as if their game is above the fray is just flat out silly.
Oh, I should say, what Kobe said was wrong and it’s not a phrase I would use and I would wash my kids mouth out with soap if I heard it, and all that stuff, but watching the NBA struggle with political correctness through all this is entertaining in its own right. Maybe Kobe and the Lakers will make the NBA Finals and the league will have to worry about how to position their “Gay, Lesbian and Straight Week,” promos. Should the promos go before or after a Kobe personal foul? What if the promo shows up right after generic Player A slaps non-descript Player B on the butt? Wait, should he be called for “reaching in?” Since it is “straight” week as well we could have some stories on the gals who show up at the players hotels. James Worthy got busted once for soliciting two prostitutes in his hotel room before a game in Houston and he’s in the Hall of Fame (and should be, BTW.) Hey, this could make for an interesting post-season as the NBA twists and turns trying to figure out just how “personal” those personal fouls are.