Kobe Bryant took some heat today after he appeared to yell a homophobic slur at referee Bennie Adams Tuesday night.
The TNT cameras caught Bryant going to the bench and yelling the referee’s name before he shouted out the homophobic slur.
“What I said last night should not be taken literally. My actions were out of frustration during the heat of the game, period,” Bryant said today after receiving criticism from the Human Rights Campaign and other groups. “The words expressed do NOT reflect my feelings towards the gay and lesbian communities and were NOT meant to offend anyone.”
Bryant was aggravated after he was assessed his 15th technical foul of the season by Adams. The Lakers ended up beating the San Antonio Spurs 102-93.
“What a disgrace for Kobe Bryant to use such horribly offensive and distasteful language, especially when millions of people are watching,” the Human Rights Campaign said in a statement.
“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. Bryant and the Lakers have a responsibility to speak up on this issue immediately. America is watching.”
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation organization also released a statement saying: “Discriminatory slurs have no place on or off the court,” said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. “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.”
If Bryant picks up his 16th technical in Wednesday’s regular season finale, he will be suspended for the first regular season game next year.