By Rodimus Dunn
To be completely honest, I don’t like Kobe Bryant. I totally respect his basketball prowess, and believe he’s one of the top 15 players in NBA history. His determination and competitiveness are currently unmatched, and until Lebron wins a championship, Bryant is the best player in the game. That being said, he’s arrogant, disingenuous (Bryant, Tiger Woods, and Alex Rodriguez are the most insincere athletes in the world), and a rat (he allegedly broke the man code when he blabbed about former teammate, Shaquile O’neal’s infidelity. Believe it or not, I honestly don’t care that he cheated on his wife, and was accused of sexual assault. None of that matters to me, as I’ve come to defend the Mamba for the first time in my life. He’s been absolutely demonized for yelling a gay slur, and I think it’s gotten out of hand.
During a game televised on TNT Kobe was called for a technical foul, got mad, punched a chair on the bench, and then yelled the gay slur at the referee. ESPN.com reported the story (using the sports zealot TMZ as their source), and had a video with Bryant’s lips blurred. I’m not homosexual, nor do I condone homophobia, but the world needs to calm down. Emotions are usually running high during important games, and guys can say some pretty nasty things. Not only do emotions run high for the lay person playing in a pick-up game, professional basketball is played by hypercompetitive young men, and what Kobe yelled is probably one of the nicest things he’s ever yelled while upset. It’s doubtful that Bryant is actually homophobic, and even if he is, everything he says/does is completely contrived, and he’s far too intelligent and savvy to broadcast that bit of information to the world. What would make more sense is for television cameras to avoid zooming closely into a person’s face when they’re pissed off. It happened to Kobe this past Tuesday night, and in 2009 TNT made it a regular practice of showing Kevin Garnett shouting pleasantries from the bench while he was injured.
There’s a reason the audio isn’t turned up and the camera zoomed in on the pile up after a tackle in the NFL. Why is there no sound during a hockey scrum or fight? Is it fair that no one can hear what’s being said between a baseball manager and the umpire when they’re arguing? Obviously these sports know something basketball doesn’t … athletes and their coaches say lots of filthy things in the heat of the moment. Kobe was pissed, said something terrible, and he apologized for it. The world, including gay former NBA player John Amechi, need to get off his back. Pejorative phrases like what Kobe said cause a lot of hurt feelings, but when taken in the proper context, its obvious Kobe wasn’t trying to spread hatred. I don’t agree with what was said, but for once, I urge the world to leave the Mamba alone.