Basketball | Kobe Bryant

David Stern: Openly Gay NBA Player Inevitable

You may recall that NBA Commissioner David Stern issued this firm statement on Wednesday following Kobe Bryant's now infamous use of an anti-gay slur during a LA Lakers game this week:

Stern “Kobe Bryant’s comment during last night’s game was offensive and inexcusable. While I’m fully aware that basketball is an emotional game, such a distasteful term should never be tolerated. Accordingly, I have fined Kobe $100,000. Kobe and everyone associated with the NBA know that insensitive or derogatory comments are not acceptable and have no place in our game or society.”

ESPN's True Hoop blog reports on some of the things related to the overall attitude related to gays and lesbians in the NBA during yesterday's the league's Board of Governor's meeting:

"I think that left unresponded to, statements like [Bryant's] could lead to a hostile work environment, and we're not going to have it."

What he thinks about the possibility of an openly gay play in the NBA:

"I think it's ... I don't want to become a social crusader on this issue but I think sports, male sports, has traditionally not been an inviting environment for gay men to identify themselves. But eventually ... we will get to a place where it is not an issue in sports...It's going to be hard, but it'll happen, I have no doubt about it."

Stern was a guest on the Mike & Mike show and had this to say when asked about the reaction he's heard thus far to the fine the league issued to Bryant: "From the groups that are most sensitive on this subject, various alliances supporting greater sensitivity to the rights of gays, lesbians transgenders, they very much appreciated the recognition that these kinds of slurs have to be taken with the same seriousness as other slurs."

Watch that interview, AFTER THE JUMP.

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  1. This would be an ideal moment for a gay basketball player to come out....jus sayin

    Posted by: Steve | Apr 16, 2011 9:48:23 AM

  2. Had a ref mouthed, on or off camera, "f'in n_____" to Kobe, Commissioner Stern would be making statements about the ref's firing, not a fine.

    Posted by: Donald | Apr 16, 2011 10:03:08 AM

  3. I'm pretty sure it'll happen in all professions...eventually! Even rap music (to take an area where the question has come up repeatedly in the past).

    Posted by: redball | Apr 16, 2011 10:10:34 AM

  4. The time has come for those of us who are gay and sports fans, and those of our fellow sports fans who are outraged at what Kobe said to show our displeasure.

    I strongly suggest that those members of the Los Angeles gay community express their displeasure in the following way:

    When Kobe is announced at the next game, refrain from booing but turn your backs and withold your applausse. When Kobe makes a basket or a good play, sit on your hands. Obviously if it is only gay people who do this it will not be a big deal, so we will need the help of the heterosexual community. This is LA afterall, and there are many folks in the film industry who ought to be supportive of us. I recommend the "applause boycott and back turning" continue until such time as we hear a genuine apology, coupled with an agreement to take sensitivity training, and to work with troubled gay youth. Imagine what kind of sanctions would have been leveled if he had used a sexist or racist slur instead. This is a very big deal, especially since it happened in close temporal proximity to the Day of Silence. Thank you.

    Posted by: Robert | Apr 16, 2011 10:22:23 AM

  5. This is a common sense response to the needless offense that was given. If it costs $100,000 to be a bigot it will send a worthwhile message to those thinking of being one.

    Posted by: ryan | Apr 16, 2011 10:51:51 AM

  6. I strongly support what Robert said above, and I would add that now is the time to get involved. There's a fantastic new organization called Athlete Ally (, which was founded by collegiate wrestling champion Hudson Taylor (now coaching at Columbia Univ.).
    The organization has been featured on Towleroad before.

    If you care about combating homophobia in sports and making all levels of athletics more LGBT inclusive, then sign the Athlete Ally pledge, get involved, or donate.

    Also check out the Facebook page:

    Posted by: Jim | Apr 16, 2011 11:42:23 AM

  7. Stern is a dishonest SOB who will say anything that the press wants to hear. He'll drive the league financially into the ground before there's an openly gay player.

    Posted by: jay_max | Apr 16, 2011 12:33:37 PM

  8. "Had a ref mouthed, on or off camera, "f'in n_____" to Kobe, Commissioner Stern would be making statements about the ref's firing, not a fine.

    Posted by: Donald | Apr 16, 2011 10:03"

    Yes - my point, exactly. Thank you Donald.

    Posted by: TomJ | Apr 16, 2011 1:38:54 PM

  9. Stern is a disingenuous shill+tool.

    Posted by: pretty rat boy | Apr 16, 2011 2:57:23 PM

  10. Ryan said: "If it costs $100,000 to be a bigot it will send a worthwhile message to those thinking of being one."

    The real message is that millionaires can do whatever they want with impunity.

    Posted by: Randy | Apr 16, 2011 4:39:41 PM

  11. The LA Lakers have a culture of homophobia and sexism. I've never understood why they need to have female cheerleaders who look like prostitutes.

    Sexist treatment of women often goes hand in hand with homophobic attitudes towards men.

    Posted by: brian | Apr 16, 2011 7:39:48 PM

  12. The world is a changing for the better. Slowly but surely, we will get there.

    GREAT to hear what this guy has to say.

    Oh, and Kobe just lost so many fans by appealing the fine. Just confirms that he is a HOMOPHOBE that needs to change, too.

    Posted by: FunMe | Apr 17, 2011 2:46:03 PM

  13. Robert what a great idea! You must write to GLAAD, HRC, and GetEqual and encourage them to start that campaign.

    Posted by: FunMe | Apr 17, 2011 2:47:30 PM

  14. Yes, Robert, Donald & Jim,

    and who will sanction racist bigoted white homosexuals?

    Why I'm not a racist...some of my best friends are the n-word.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Apr 18, 2011 10:30:00 AM

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