Gay Slurs | Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant Says He Used To Beat Up Kids Who Teased His Gay Friends

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ESPN’s Lisa Salters spoke to Kobe Bryant about his "fag" slur from last week. Bryant insisted that he's not anti-gay and claims that he used to beat up kids in high school who would tease his gay friends. Or so he told Salters:

"Even though I didn't mean it that way, I've since learned what that word still means to a lot of people. I went on-line myself and I did my own research and I saw and I read about kids who were committing suicide because of being teased for who they are. I don't play that. I used to beat up a lot of kids even in high school who used to tease my friends because they were gay, or because they were black, or because they were Jewish, or because they were yellow, or because they were whatever. For people who don't think my apology is sincere, they don't know me. This isn't over for me. I really plan to do more. What I said was ignorant and I really didn't realize what I was saying. Now that I do and realize how it affects people I really plan to do more and to help with the awareness."

Dan Fogarty of Dan Abrams' website Sports Grid expresses his doubts on the story: "Sorry Kobe, but this is tough to see. Although his multicultural upbringing is well documented, Kobe sounds like he’s stretching it a bit when he insists that he was some sort of high school protector of the ostracized. I mean, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe he did beat up a few kids in high school who teased his friends. And picturing Kobe sitting in front of a computer, doing his own research on bullied gay teens, is kind of a touching mental image. But that’s easier to picture than Kobe Bryant, schoolyard avenger."

Listen to Salters talk about her conversation with Bryant, AFTER THE JUMP.

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Comments

  1. I really haven't taken anything that comes out of Kobe's mouth as truth since he tried to explain what he was doing with that girl in his room in that hotel in Colorado.

    Posted by: Joe B. | Apr 17, 2011 7:44:43 PM


  2. He's damned if he apologizes and damned if he doesn't. He seems sincere me to.

    Lord knows I've said a few off-color, inappropriate things.

    Posted by: Chuy | Apr 17, 2011 7:46:06 PM


  3. He should just apologize, pay his fine, take his lumps and then STFU!!! If a white player had used the N-word in a similar setting, he'd be gone. Period.
    He should be thankful he's still getting paid obscene amounts of money to bounce a little ball around instead of having to do something actually *meaningful*.

    Posted by: Justin L Werner | Apr 17, 2011 8:02:40 PM


  4. This is over-blown. That said, I agree, if it was a white dude who used the N word, the story would not die.

    Posted by: pretty rat boy | Apr 17, 2011 8:16:37 PM


  5. If his apology is sincere, why is he fighting the fine?
    The more he explains, the worse it gets for him. This has gone from a simple 'language malfunction' on live tv to a public trial over Kobe's character, past and present.

    Posted by: Go Galt. Please. | Apr 17, 2011 8:17:38 PM


  6. I think he should pay the fine, then double it with a contribution to the Trevor project, and speak up. I've overhead a number of straight guys talking about this and debating if this was as bad as using the N-word. It os good that he comments have become a point of discussion - some folks will learn from this.

    Posted by: Jason | Apr 17, 2011 8:21:44 PM


  7. while the school yard avenger thing seems a little iffy to me, I don't think him using the word necessarily means he's homophobic or anything. I mean I got into a fight with my hag once in HS and she used the f word on me...but she's like one of the gay friendliest people ever and Perez used it once when he got angry (he's stupid but that's another story) Point is that people say really ugly things when they're angry.

    Regardless of what Kobe really feels lets just hope he learns from this and does his best to correct his wrongs and raise more social awareness and all that good stuff.

    Posted by: Tom | Apr 17, 2011 8:27:51 PM


  8. While I deplore the use of the word, context must be used. I doubt his intention was homophobic. There are far worse cases of homophobia, which do not receive this kind of coverage.

    Posted by: Sarina | Apr 17, 2011 8:47:56 PM


  9. OK, Kobe, you've got the profile and the money, be an avenger (maybe better, a protector) now. Like Jason said, if you're getting all introspective, do something good in response. Anything good you do will be noticed & maybe replicated by a lot of others.

    Posted by: Russell | Apr 17, 2011 8:50:52 PM


  10. Kobe: Don't fight the fine. Is that really a battle you want to win, when it would weaken the notion that slurs are not acceptable?
    Instead, prove your sincerity by becoming an Athlete Ally. It would be a huge boost to the Athlete Ally campaign to have you come on board and give them moral support, and perhaps a financial boost as well.

    Posted by: GregV | Apr 17, 2011 9:57:11 PM


  11. He had to go online and do "research" to figure out that calling someone a faggot wasn't ok? Really?

    If he's genuinely sorry, he would pay the fine. It's a tiny fraction of his huge salary. It's not my delicate feelings that are the issue. People hear him using language like that, and the next day there's another kid in the news beaten nearly to death by heteros that think it's ok, because "celebrities" think the same way they do.

    If the role models come out against homobphobia, homophobia has fewer supporters and fewer people will look the other way when it happens.

    Posted by: Kurt | Apr 17, 2011 10:03:56 PM


  12. Considering he went to Lower Merion HS, and started in the NBA at 17, I doubt at face-value his story about having...and defending...any "gay friends".

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kobe_Bryant#High_school

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lower_Merion_High_School

    Posted by: Ted B. (Charging Rhino) | Apr 17, 2011 10:31:59 PM


  13. I didn't believe his first apology, but this one I do. When somebody admits they were wrong and pledges to make amends for it, I think you have to give that person a chance.

    Posted by: Jack | Apr 17, 2011 10:48:42 PM


  14. I think what Kobe said about his past, and about suddenly "discovering" that f-g is a hateful slur, is probably a load of BS.

    But I'm hopeful his plans to continue to speak out on this issue are honest. All considered, this is how I would expect a sports celeb to react (so far).

    Let's see what happens.

    Posted by: Randy | Apr 17, 2011 10:49:27 PM


  15. GOD, just give it up already. I'm no fan of the Lakers, or Kobe, but he apologized and has recognized it's not language to be used. Stop with all these persistent nagging over it. It's done.

    Posted by: deanybeany | Apr 17, 2011 11:16:51 PM


  16. Well he didn't actually apologize at all he just said the stupid "i didn't mean to offend anyone" bs. the fact that he would use that terminology shows he's an idiot. that he would now make up some obviously fake story just makes him look brain dead stupid. dribbling that ball must take up all his brainpower

    Posted by: Rob | Apr 17, 2011 11:57:58 PM


  17. "Yellow"? I don't know many Asians who embrace that terminology.

    That said, let this story die. As others have said, issuing an apology and paying the fine is enough on this unless he honestly intends to become a major supporter of LGBT rights and anti-bullying campaigns. That would be great, but I suspect it won't happen if he didn't even know it was a problem---despite claiming to know kids who were bullied in high school. Doesn't quite add up.

    Posted by: Paul R | Apr 18, 2011 12:57:26 AM


  18. Cool. Now man up & pay your fruck'N fine!

    Posted by: MoJo | Apr 18, 2011 1:34:21 AM


  19. Though both incendiary and highly offensive, the use of the 'F' word is not the same as the 'N' word.

    Posted by: Jason H. | Apr 18, 2011 1:37:41 AM


  20. To everyone who is talking about the fine, and why not pay up. It is typical protocol for it being appealed. In a interview he said its not about the money (which I do believe) it about being perceived as a anti-gay person. As a Laker and Kobe fan and as a gay man I really do feel like he is being sincere with the whole thing. Sad about the lost today :( lol

    Posted by: Jeff | Apr 18, 2011 1:58:53 AM


  21. There is no way this is true. If he had gay friends whom he physically protected and avenged, how he could not know how hurtful the word "faggot" still was? How could a man who supposedly had gay friends only learn of the still resonant meanings of the word "faggot" after recently conducting on-line research. This reads like a bad joke or the PR release of a 11-year old.

    Oh, while he comically defended and apologized for not playing that way about demeaning "faggots," he slandered another group by calling them yellow. What Asians refer to themselves as Yellow? Come on. What an idiot? Yeah, try calling your imaginary Asian friends Yellow sometime, dick. I never liked the guy but I thought he was pretty intelligent but the guy is an offensive dunce.

    Posted by: Sean | Apr 18, 2011 3:53:02 AM


  22. I'd like to brush this off with the obvious spot ad:

    Cheating on wife $4 million
    Calling referee "f*cking f*ggot" $100,000
    Being Kobe Bryant priceless

    But for some reason this has hit me harder emotionally than that. Not only did I think that Kobe was a better human being than that, I thought he wanted to be a better human being than that.

    I'm not sure that I believe in souls, but I weep for Kobe's.

    Posted by: Rich | Apr 18, 2011 4:10:45 AM


  23. please. anybody making that kind of money and who has received adulation based on his athletic skills is bound to be a narcissist.

    btw, why is the n-word worse than the f- word?

    Posted by: r | Apr 18, 2011 6:44:50 AM


  24. So Kobe didn't know it was wrong to use the F-word?! Really? How stupid can he be?! Should I use the N-word on him, then?

    Posted by: nikko | Apr 18, 2011 7:03:30 AM


  25. Still no REAL apology. I've now read at least three versions of his apologies. And every time he still insists that the listeners are the ones who are getting it wrong by misinterpreting what he "meant".

    He keeps saying he didn't mean "fagg*t" as "gay man". But, he has yet to explain what he did mean by the word "fagg*t"

    He's now learned what that word still means to people.... Well Kobe, what the hell did you think it meant when you used it? I'm still waiting for you to explain what you did mean when you keep claiming what you didn't mean.

    Posted by: Tim NC | Apr 18, 2011 7:08:57 AM


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