Kobe Bryant, the controversial Lakers superstar who last night called the game’s referee a “fucking fag,” today has finally offered a statement — but not an actual apology — issued by the Lakers organization. “What I said last night should not be taken literally,” Bryant said. “My actions were out of frustration during the heat of the game, period. The words expressed do NOT reflect my feelings towards the gay and lesbian communities and were NOT meant to offend anyone.”
Here’s what Bryant did not say:
- “I’m sorry”
- “I should never have said the words “fucking” or “fag,” or any derivation thereof.
- I do not hate, dislike, or have other negative feelings about the gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender communities.
Here’s what Bryant’s words actually mean:
- I don’t know what the word “fag” actually means.
- I don’t know what the word “literally” actually means.
- “My actions were out of frustration during the heat of the game, period,” or, in other words, “My level of frustration at the referee — not at myself — was so high I resorted to using a term that sums up the most anger and hatred I could find at the time.”
- If I had been angry at myself I would not have taken my anger out on someone else.
- I have serious anger management issues that need to be addressed.
Bryant’s non-apology apology is not accepted, at least not here.
Like HRC said, “America is watching.”
UPDATE: 6:05 PM
HRC has responded to Bryant’s non-apology. Here is their statement:
This morning, HRC condemned the slur: “What a disgrace for Kobe Bryant to use such horribly offensive and distasteful language, especially when millions of people are watching. 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.”
While Bryant issued a statement acknowledging the slur, he failed to apologize: “What I said last night should not be taken literally. My actions were out of frustration during the heat of the game, period. The words expressed do NOT reflect my feelings towards the gay and lesbian communities and were NOT meant to offend anyone.”
HRC called on the Lakers organization to weigh in on the slur, given both the prominence of Bryant and the influence he wields on and off the court.
“For better or worse, Kobe Bryant has created a teachable moment for the millions of fans – many of them young – who saw that outburst on the floor,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “And the right thing to do now is to apologize and take responsibility for suggesting that the worst thing you can do to someone is to scream out a gay slur. This kind of homophobic outburst has dangerous consequences, even more so when it comes from a celebrity in the national spotlight.”
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