Kobe Bryant Statement on ‘Fag’ Slur: ‘I Didn’t Mean to Offend Anyone’


The L.A. Lakers spoke with GLAAD this morning and released a statement from Kobe Bryant regarding the anti-gay slur captured on camera during his game last night.

Said Bryant:

“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.”

Bryant's slur is under review by the NBA.

Watch: Kobe Bryant Calls Ref a 'F**king Fag' After Technical Foul [tr]


  1. says

    What a liar. Obvuiously he meant to offend the person he said it to. The guy shouldn’t have the job he has in the first place. I feel better when I picture the “big one” coming in the middle of a Lakers game, and the entire Staples Center collapses into the earth. Would also solve LA’s gang problems.

  2. Matt26 says

    Well that’s alright then, right? No hard feelings, right? We understand, don’t we? We always understand. I am a bit tired of understanding.

    It is good he is sorry, but still… why to use those words in the first place.

  3. Klifford says

    I am sick and tired of hearing this excuse from the jocks and others who still throw fag and its variations around like it’s nothing. The fact that they say it out of frustration and anger leads me to believe they use the terms much more frequently in private – things that slip off the tongue in frustration are typically well ingrained. I don’t care that it doesn’t represent your view towards the LGBT community – it still is insulting – and I don’t care that you didn’t mean to offend anyone. In fact I don’t believe you: you meant to offend the ref. at least. And you knew that it would offend everyone else who was within earshot…

  4. Rob says

    The “apology” is a bad as the original slur. “My words should not be taken literally.” Oh, so it’s OK because he wasn’t literally saying the ref was a f**ing f**? The words may not have been “meant to offend anyone” but using those words as an angry putdown was offensive.

  5. Fred says

    Oh right – next time someone calls me a faggot I’ll just assume they didn’t mean it.

    Yeah right

  6. Sky says

    Does this mean we can say racial slurs out of frustration and then claim that “it doesn’t reflect our feelings toward that community?”

  7. Tribute says

    So, if in the heat of the moment, I call someone a “f**ing n**ger,” I’m to be forgiven, right Kobe? I mean come’on! The guy I was mad at was white, so what I said should not be taken literally.

    When I use the N word, that expression does NOT reflect my feelings towards the African American community and I do NOT mean to offend anyone.

    Right, Kobe?

  8. pdxblueyes says

    I want to ask him – If you didn’t mean to offend anybody, then why did you say it jerkoff?
    Another example of ignorant, uneducated thugs being paid big money and forgetting that they have a responsibility to their public.

  9. Arty says

    First off, his original comment was offensive and should be punished under whatever rules the NBA has for dealing with the public use of hate speech. Period. Also, I agree with people noting that the actually words, “I’m sorry” appear to be missing from the non-apology, which is frankly terrible.

    But, the greater issue, I think in all of these race-baiting articles, (because that’s what I think this is), is how we collectively react to incredible lack of good judgment on Bryant’s part.

    It took all of 14 minutes of commenting time for someone to make the incredibly ridiculous “then why can’t I use the N-word” or “what If he were to have used the N-word” argument. Before I actually get to the greater point, there’s no escaping the fact that Kobe is black and so I can’t hear in these quick, visceral reactions anything but “he said the f-word so i want to say the n-word” imagining that one word’s linguistic violence will seek the vengeance of another.

    I think we can qualify both terms as admittedly context/speaker dependent hate-speech without conflating the socio-historical violence of both words. As much as the LGBT movement models itself on the civil rights struggles of people of color who, having come before us, have shown us how to go about acquiring civil rights. But, this isn’t a narrative of progress. Even if they can marry, their struggles are far from over (read any Tim Wise book at random) and it’s far from obvious that these rights have been obtained in any real, practical sense (housing, education, legal, etc.) Our communities (even ignoring the large overlap that somehow makes it ok to use the N-word in vengeance as if gay men of color did not exist) ultimately have common goals, and stupid petty things like this cannot reduce us to the basest possible instincts.

  10. Avenger says

    I’m mad that he apologized. He shouldn’t have. People need to develop thicker skins, seriously. Acting like your damn day was ruined over that piddly BS. “Oh my God, I can’t believe he said that!!!” Please.

  11. Rowan says

    Arty, welcome to Towleroad! Luckily Queerty is down because this the kind if article they LIVE for.

  12. TampaZeke says

    Sounds like the John Kyle “My official statement on the floor of congress wasn’t intended to be factual” excuse that Stephen Colbert so magnificently eviscerated.

  13. Rowan says

    Another thing Arty.

    Tim Tebow has not only done adverbs for a group that has LOUDLY systematically worked to break gays but he’s favorite person is a rabid anti-gay ex movie star who LOUDLY goes on about how he hates gays.

    And guess how many people on this blog were rushing to give him the benefit of the doubt? Some even went as far as to say that he’s just a jock, he knew no better cur him some slack. Tebow scores above a 4 at college.

    Others say this still doesn’t make him anti-gay etc.

    And this guy in a stupid heat of the moment says ‘fag’ like every straight Tom, Dick and Harry and apparently it’s now okay to call him n*gga.

    So because ONE black guy says that, you are now going to use the n word? Even though I’m black and gay?


  14. TampaZeke says

    @ARTY, none of what you said negates the fact that there is a direct comparison between the use of anti-gay slurs and anti-gay slurs. Though it may piss you off, there is no reason to take offense to the fact that people make the obvious observations. There is a huge difference between using this incident to justify the use of racial slurs and pointing out the similarities between racial and homophobic slurs and being annoyed and frustrated that an educated, world traveled, respected African-American man wouldn’t understand the issue better.

    I guarantee you that had Joe Solomonese been caught on video using the n-word you would be the first to jump up and make comparisons to anti-gay slurs.

  15. Rick says

    Here is what Jim Harbaugh said when he was accused of using the “f-word”; Kobe might have used this as an example:

    “I would like to state unequivocally the alleged anti-gay remark that some have attributed to me did not come from my mouth and any such assertion is hurtful to me, members of my family and the gay community. Those who know me know I never use slurs under any circumstances; the bias reflected by spiteful slurs is simply not in my heart.”

  16. Hollywood, CA says

    It would seem that when straight black people use the “F” word (fa**ot), it gives GAY WHITE MEN free reign to say the “N” word (Ni**er).

    It shouldn’t. It’s nasty. It’s unbelievably insensitive. And, if you’re gay and black, you get violated from both sides, and it sucks. So please think before you knee jerk into saying something that hurts innocent people. This means you, KILE OZIER.

  17. Chitown Kev says


    Harbaugh’s case was a little different though; it was less clear what he actually said.

    No way could Kobe Bryant have denied that, so Harbaugh’s apology (actually, it’s a denial) was not applicable to Bryant’s case

  18. HA! says

    Another double standard, and yes I will use the N word just because one man said fag…enough is enough!!

  19. Andrew says

    You guys are funny. You are intolerant because someone else is intolerant of your crimes against the word of God? Fags

  20. walter says

    what kobe actually meant to say is i’m sorry anybody but the ref heard me use the f word. it is way past time where people stop making excuses for people who find it easy to call somebody a fag as a slur word. the n word is no longer tolerated why should the f word. it actually amounts to the same thing. they are both used in a demeaning way and both meant to hurt. kobe is just an overpaid thug running around in boxers and muscle tee getting too much money.

  21. vwdavy says

    I’ll just say it-Kobe is a stupid, moronic, n-er. But I don’t mean anything offensive by it at all.

  22. vwdavy says

    Re: Arty’s comments.
    First off, this is a comments page, where people can air their frustrations with stupidity, usually. By saying “I’m sorry” one takes the focus off of the victim and places it back on oneself, thereby making it a non-apology.
    He needs to pay a huge fine, then work hard by volunteering to make amends, not just some stupid, childlike phrase.
    Secondly, you are somewhat correct: two wrongs do not make a right. Pedantics aside, the example that people were writing was to do just that, make an example. It is never proper to use words against others, but worse to pontificate thusly.
    Since I’m treading the line thinly, it’s time to go.

  23. Jonathan says

    Sorry Arty – you ask people to rise above an obvious comparison – racial vs. Anti-gay slurs.

    Both slurs are not acceptable but occur frequently. When, in the heat of the moment, you ucall someone “Fag” – it is meant to be cruel and used to demean.

    I wouldn’t personally use the N word to describe Kobe Bryant but if I were to hear someone else use the N word in the context of Kobe Bryant, I wouldn’t object. Morally repugnant, yes, but he would be reaping what he sowed.

  24. ratbastard says

    Who cares. I’ve used the F word as a pejorative many times, and I’m homosexual.

  25. JFE says

    I heard some of Kobe’s comments on a radio show today and he does seem conciliatory and apologetic. “I didn’t mean to offend anyone” does sound like a cop-out, but he’s done more to apologize today.

    I just hope it continues. Kobe marching in a gay pride parade would be awesome.

  26. MickW says

    He should have never apologized, white gay people use the n-word all the time – just look at this comment section.

  27. Arty says

    Several things are interesting. One, that by finding their commenting behavior indefensible I’ve been taken by some to be a Kobe apologist. I’m not. I just saw he was fined $100,000. Awesome. What he did was terrible and fine-worthy.

    Second, and this part will be trickier: the n-word and the f-word are recognizable as hate speech, yes. The can both be (when said by the wrong people, at the wrong times), brutal hate-speech intending to terrify, demoralize, and insult. This is technically what allows some to say, “oh, so he said the f-word, well, then he’s an n-word”. (Though much of my original post was about why this reflex is there in the first place. And also, I’m wondering why it is that all it takes one basketball player’s misbehavior to bring out of supposedly left-leaning (I’m guessing, this is a left-interested blog) people hate speech that has become a marker of reprehensibility for about the last two decades. But anyway…) However, for all of this they are not, I would argue, commensurable terms of hate. While each is reducible to recognizable hate-speech they can’t be collapsed onto each other; saying one as vengeance for the other is non-sensical for this reason. (As the slave trade and the holocaust are recognizable acts of genocide but incommensurable in their brutality. What would it even mean to argue that one was “worse” than the other? What would be the purpose of such a question?) Said another way, you can have that knee-jerk reaction but recognizing, even briefly, the history of the n-word should be enough to give pause, regardless of its so-called trivialization in certain very-specific social settings.

    In conclusion the response to homophobia is not racism. And as obvious as that would appear to be, let’s look at the first comment:

    “I feel better when I picture the “big one” coming in the middle of a Lakers game, and the entire Staples Center collapses into the earth. Would also solve LA’s gang problems”

    So, unless the author is implying a causality between basketball viewers/players and crime, we’re led to conclude that he assumes that there is some correlation between the kinds of people who attend/play basketball and the people who commit crimes in Los Angeles. What could that factor be?…

    Also, I don’t think I need to cite the number of people who then either used the n-word in any of its asterisked forms or who said they wouldn’t mind if other people did.

    Finally, as to those who said that, well it was bad to use hate-speech, but it worse to pontificate, I wonder how much the NBA will be fining me for this post.

  28. adam says

    Sorry to have “misconscrewed” your comment-in-the-heat-of-the-moment, Kobe. Yeah right!

  29. says

    See….this is where you have got it all wrong. While it may suck that Kobe chose to call the ref the f word he did not use the term BECAUSE the ref is gay. He used it because he thought the ref was being an a-hole.

    But when a white person calls a black person the n word — they are doing expressly and precisely because that black person is black!!!

    Believe me, it’s happened to me MANY times.

    So your comparison –and totally unoriginal — might SOUND good, it actually has no merit whatsoever.

    These are NOT comparable issues

    The Gay Community at times can be so hypocritical!

  30. r says

    interesting how, even on this page, it’s ok to use the “f-word” but not to use the “n-word”….

  31. Tyron says

    His original comment was offensive which is what he intended it to be. His apology was stupid, disingenuous and a result of nothing more than having been caught making the original statement. Time to stop “forgiving” people for making these slurs and start holding them responsible (good on you NBA). We can’t stop what happens in private but when these things happen in public action needs to be taken to make sure people are held accountable.

  32. Derrick from Philly says

    No, R,

    you can use the “n” word all you want. Your kind has done it for decades. But I’ve got an arsenal of anti-white (anti-white ethnic and anti-white Gay) slurs to hurl back at you. Let the competition in American (both Black and White) ignorance continue. Based on an amateur study of American history and the backgrounds of the different ethnic/racial groups who’ve come here–I’m always ready.

  33. Jeff says

    I forgive him. I hope he thinks about the damage these slurs do before uttering it even inside hisnown head again.

  34. says

    The POINT…is that both these words are unacceptable; as are pretty much all such slurs.

    The use of one neither excuses nor opens the door for retributive use of another. While the “heat of the moment” may be a reason for one’s slipping and revealing the subcutaneous prejudice or phobia with such a slur, it in no way excuses the thought, word or act…it simply exposes existence of that prejudice…and hate.

    Personally, I have no patience with the apologists who excuse the slur under discussion for any reason; nor do I accept the arguments for using slurs in retaliation for what took place in that arena.

    I do, though, fully support the method of substituting analogous hate speech in place of “fag” to illustrate the inflammatory, hurtful, despicable negativity of that word…”k***,” “w**,” “s***,” “N*****” (I use these asterisks in order to avoid being “filtered”), none of these scores of words are acceptable for use in any situation.

    If Black guys want to use that word, amongst themselves, for whatever reason; that’s entirely up to them…it’s theirs and only theirs to use. Ditto for “f**” and “f*****” among gay men, when giving one another a hard time. It is equally unacceptable, however, for a non-gay person to use such terms in any context; just as it is unacceptable for a non-white to use the term in question.

    This is what I’d attempted to illustrate with my previous posting; a point that is evidently too nuanced and subtle to be appreciated by the hate-mail writers who’ve communicated with me, since.

    Hate speech is hate speech, and none of it makes the world any better.

  35. wimsy says

    Didn’t mean to offend anyone? So that remark was a compliment to the ref?

    Hey Kobe, kiss this.

  36. Darlene says

    Give me a break. If you get the camera’s out of his a-s then he can make a statement that should offend anyone. we should be able to make stupid statements to ourselves. by the way I love all gay people. I say things like this and other things about straight people does that make me bad. Get a ‘F’ life. Player haters.

  37. says

    What a loser Kobe continues to be. He really needs to control his anger on the basketball court, his continued complaining and arguing with the refs on every call made against him or his team is beginning to be turn off as a fan. For every call made against Kobe, he nor his team in his mind ever commits a foul. And he knew for consistently bursting out in anger, so yes he should pay the 100,000 penalty. There should be an appeal process for his nasty words.