As my eyes first strained to keep up with the scroll across the screen, I immediately knew what he said (duh) and how he said it (unfortunately). Since I wasn’t watching the game that night, I was delighted to finally see the video (thanks, Dan)…yikes:
One of the best parts of watching sports is the real shit that TV cameras often pick up by accident: errant snot, a scrotum shift, a trip and fall, offbeat trash talk. If you’ve ever been to a game in person and sat close enough to be sprinkled by a player’s sweat or even just felt the static cling of their almost psychotic game-time energy, you’ve been privy to some prime (primal?) entertainment.
But there was truly nothing funny about Kobe’s dialogue. So it was hard to chuckle when listening to sports radio today to hear callers weigh in with all manner of oblivious opinions. Though there was a remarkably diverse set of comments expressed, both for and against the $100k fine, what struck me was that most people were not willing to concede that the great offense was that he spewed a gay slur.
“He shouldn’t be cursing at a ref; that’s an authority figure and a lot of players have been fined for badmouthing refs.”
“The cameras caught him and ‘the groups’ are upset, so I get that (NBA Commissioner) Stern had no choice but to punish him.”
“$100,000? For saying what a lot of people say?? That’s not right.”
"Kenyan Martin threatened to KILL Mark Cuban. What was he fined??"
Heat of the moment—I get it—this is how people get when they’re upset—yes, I know…but son was at his place of business, and never mind that Carl the Camera Guy was on the case.
And God forbid I point out that calling someone a “fucking faggot” is fucking vile.
People use this word everywhere, feel no remorse about it, know it’s probably wrong to say to someone who is actually gay, but don’t give it much thought otherwise. I actually buy the idea that people still don’t know better, and that they may not see anything wrong with saying it. But this is precisely why a steep fine and no-tolerance approach is necessary. Not just to make a point, but to make a statement…that THAT statement is not fucking acceptable. This, my gay-as-in-happy friends, is how you help make that point publicly to the recesses of the Bible belt, Midwest and beyond.
Inevitably, the obvious “nigga” analogy was all over this one.
“Kevin Garnett was caught on camera saying the same thing AND the n-word and nothing happened to him.”
“These young guys say it where they come from so it’s not a big deal.”
I don’t see why a conversation about offensive language always has to veer left onto Martin Luther King Blvd and include nggas and their ngga shit, so I don’t want this post to make a wrong turn into the hood either. But I will say that I find it counterproductive for folks to allow hood ass shit to permeate institutions that are meant to uplift. Like (
HBCUs) college, for example. What sense does it make to let a kid come to your school if you’re going to stoop to the level of their high school in an effort to “reach them,” rather than teach them that it’s in fact not ok to wear pajamas and Timbs to class.
If you’re a professional, act like one. And indeed Mamba Sauce did just that this morning (brought to you by Adidas), and is to be commended for taking responsibility as the face of the League should.
Whether or not YOU think so using the word 'faggot' is indeed offensive and there should be no tolerance in the matter. I applaud the League for making a swift and …stern response and I think the amount was appropriate. Just because you don’t agree that it’s not THAT bad, doesn’t mean it isn’t. Maybe you should reevaluate why you don’t think so, rather than accusing the NBA of pandering to the LGBT community. And what the fuck is so wrong with that anyway??
Also, suggesting that because past offenses like Garnett's in '08 weren't punishable that this one shouldn't be either are valid. However, as our society grows and progresses, much like these athletes do, it is to be assumed and even expected that changes will be made, views will have shifted and interpretations of precedents set will be reevaluated accordingly. Bringing up old shit only serves to shift the conversation from the actual, albeit difficult, issue at hand. We should always be asking, 'What have we learned? How do we proceed?'
Asking whether Kobe would have been fined if Camera Guy had caught him saying “fucking nigger,” is a whole other conversation, and it does little to analyze this one. I believe in a case-by-case basis on issues that venture into cultural grey areas.
My question: Why is it so hard for folks to acknowledge that there is in fact something wrong with making slurs against gay people? Is it because so many of us do it without a second thought?
Will this ever be fucking settled?