Looks like Kobe Bryant may have learned his lesson—or is at least trying to win kind treatment from from sports commentators come playoff time. The basketball star made headlines last week after he was caught on camera hurling an anti-gay slur at a referee. This week Bryant and the Lakers released a PSA called “Compassion” that reminds people “words can be hurtful.”
From Rod McCollum:
The announcement begins with Bryant: “There are all kinds of different people in the world. That’s what makes the world special. So whether someone is different than you.”
“In race,” forward Lamar Odom says. “Ethnicity,” center Pau Gasol says. “Political beliefs,” guard Shannon Brown says. “Religion,” says forward Ron Artest; “Or sexual orientation, words could be hurtful,” Bryant adds.
Bryant did apologize and was fined $100,000 for the outburst, and McCollumn points out that the Lakers and GLAAD plan to team up to address anti-gay bias in sports. The incident sparked widespread outrage, including an eloquent New York Times editorial penned by John Ameachi, the only NBA player to have come out as openly gay player. Ameachi, who is retired, wrote:
I challenge you to freeze-frame Bryant’s face in that moment of conflict with the referee Bennie Adams. Really examine the loathing and utter contempt, and realize this is something with which almost every lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender person is familiar. That is the sentiment people face in middle and high schools, in places of worship, work and even in their own homes across the United States.
Bravo to GLAAD and Bryant, however imperfect, for taking the first steps in undoing his contribution to that hate.