1. jc says

    i love your website. but seriously? you posted this? this is grasping at straws. he was angry. he’s stressed, and he said it to himself. not to the ref. he looks angry. you look like petty thought police.

  2. Francis says

    I expect a bunch of hate responses towards Kobe. I think that this will likely blow up in his face and he’ll eventually either be forced to apologize or the discussion will be out there in NBA circles, but personally, I’m not going to knock him too much for saying something a little inappropriate in the heat of the moment when he’s angry. I know quite a few gays who have used the same type of language when they are angry, so……….it doesn’t excuse it, but I’m not going to crucify him for it either.

  3. gaylib says

    Francis and JC, you are a prime examples of why our struggle continues to be so difficult. Your ignorance and complacency does as much damage to gay rights as Bryant’s bigoted, foul language. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Your own internalized homophobia is sickening.

  4. Francis says

    Internalized homophobia my ass. I think it’s wrong and I don’t excuse his language, but again, something done in the heat of battle when you’re angry and have no control of your emotions is much different than just simply using an anti-gay slur because you’re truly homophobic. It’s not “internalized homophobia” to fully understand the context of situations.

  5. AJ says

    Again, what would happen if he “in the heat of the moment” shouted a racial slur? What if a white player called the ref a racial slur? There is absolutely no excuse for this. NONE.

  6. tom a says

    I guess it shows progress when people act “shocked” when an athlete calls someone a fag under his breath. I’m kinda NOT shocked. Heck I’m sure I’d hear it in the hallway of any high school in the USA on a daily basis.

  7. Rob says

    JC – the anger and stress are prefectly understandable, even commendable (he is a competitor). The words he chose to say to himself are not understandable and not even acceptable. Talk about “thought police” and “grasping at straws” all you want. But the truth is that the moveement from homo-slurs as the go to expression of anger is necessary. It will be slow, it will often be picky – but it has to be consistent and vigilant. In the language of our school systems – there has to be Zero Tolerance.

  8. Rob says

    So what else is new? Bryant always gets away with….whatever! Nobody’s going to take him to task for this use of “faggot” because he’s an NBA superstar. Next….

  9. Francis says

    If a white player used a racial slur in the heat of the moment in anger, I would probably have the same reaction. It’s unacceptable, it’s not excusable, but it’s also a different context than just saying “I hate n*ggers”. When you are not in control of yourself, you’re mad, you feel slighted, you sometimes say things that aren’t so nice. Does that make me an idiot? No, because I’m not excusing his language whatsoever. I’m simply saying, different contexts, different reactions.

  10. Francis says

    Anyway, before I get called stupid anymore, I expect him to be taken to task, and I expect this to blow up in his face, either because the video makes the rounds on the internet, or because a gay watchdog group puts the pressure on and stands up and speaks out. I DO NOT THINK what he said is acceptable, I think it’s offensive, I think the usage of anti-gay slurs in every day vocabulary is wrong and that it needs to be stamped out as pejorative insults. It’s not acceptable, and he needs to be held accountable.

  11. candideinnc says

    The man is a purported role model for youth. As one of the previous commenters pointed out, racial slurs would be out of bounds here. So, too, should homophobic comments. He needs to apologize.

  12. Francis says

    The discussion needs to be held at more than just the NBA level, but sports culture in general. Sports culture is still as homophobic as ever if not more so. But will it? Not unless action is taken to make it happen. But this incident and then incident with the homophobia on YOUTUBE to the hand holding Raptors players definitely shows that there is a problem needed to be addressed. Kobe, given the fact he’s one of the most popular players, doing this could definitely spur discussion of what is and isn’t acceptable vocabulary.

  13. Ian says

    Francis and JC, you’re not idiots, just desensitized and misguided. I don’t even THINK the word n*gger, even in the heat of the moment, because I know what it means and my heart is in a different place. Through the hard work of many people over the years, society has slowly been obliterating that word, and what it stands for. It simply is not tolerated in society today, and rightfully so.

    F*ggot is the same thing as n*gger. So NO, it is NOT acceptable to mouth this word, even in the so-called “heat of the moment”.

    And let’s put this in perspective. We are not even talking about the “heat of the moment” hundreds of young men are experiencing every day getting shot at and blown up on the front lines of Afghanistan. No this tool is getting heated up in a friggin BALL GAME, for which he gets paid millions. The heat of Kobe’s moments pale in comparison and in no way comes close to justifying him even mouthing those words.

  14. Ian says

    Francis – you start by clearly defending Kobe’s slur as acceptable as a “heat of the moment” thing, but then as you thought about it, go on to condemn it as not acceptable. This reads like you are internally conflicted, and not sure how you feel. You unwittingly verbalized this internal conflict in your posts and it’s interesting to read, as it’s an internal dialog many people probably have on this subject. Clearly you are thinking about this and you’ll eventually work it out I’m sure. Playing both sides of that fence leads to complacency.

  15. Francis says

    I agree, Ian. I’ve never, and I mean literally never, said the n-word or f-word in anger. Not once. Because I think it’s wrong, and like you, my heart isn’t in that place. I’m not even desensitized because whenever I do hear someone using this language, it gives me chills. I think it’s bad. I’m not in any way giving Kobe cover. I’m just saying that people do say bad things when they’re angry and out of control. So my attitude towards those situations is different than if he would have just bluntly said “you’re a fa**ot”. It’s just different contexts.

    As for the comparisons to the men at war, I agree that obviously what he does for a living pales in comparison and he’s loaded in money, so he has little to complain about. However, he is the star of his team, playing in a big game and this is what he does for a living, so I can understand he being frustrated because he has to be taken out of the game for what he feels is a bad call. Athletes have the right to get angry too without being called spoiled.

  16. Francis says

    I’m not conflicted, Ian. I think what he did is wrong and unacceptable, but I think saying something racist/homophobic/sexist etc. out of anger in the heat of the moment because you’re frustrated, stressed or not in your right mind is DIFFERENT than saying something racist/homophobic/sexist because that is your default state of mind. I never defended his slur, as I said originally, I don’t defend him, I think what he did was wrong, I just said I’m not going to go out of my way to crucify him knowing the context it happened in. I expect an apology, and if he’s contrite and he learns from this, and why this is unacceptable. Hopefully this incident can create more discussion on the matter of slurs used in sports, specifically anti-gay slurs.

  17. gaylib says

    While I’m flattered you follow my comments Crispy, I think you’re only just READING posts about black men, which is irrelevant to this post anyway. He made a bigoted slur, and I was criticizing those who would apologize for it. Now carry on with being a dick. It appears to be the only thing you’re good at.

  18. says

    Plain and simple, the remark was uncalled for, derogatory, hateful and not acceptable in today’s society. Period.

    Just replace his words with any other ugly minority slur and he would be called to task easily. Why are we gays the last minority that it is OK and acceptable to freely use hate speech, use as easy comedy in movies and deny civil rights. We have a long, long road to acceptance ahead. We can’t afford to be casual.

  19. kodiak says

    I have an artist friend who did a series of paintings of Kobe on the basketball court, naked, with a big boner. They’re pretty good.

    That said, he is a “professional” athlete, it’s the middle of a game,
    testosterone is flowing, a game is at stake, and millions of people
    are watching him revert to school yard bunghole. The people watching will be offended, not notice, or take it as a cool thing to do. Sure, Kobe, you can blow off steam like everybody else, but
    being a high profile dude, you should think about the power of words to hurt or to help, and go from there. Next time I hear/see you do a public service announcement or whatever, in my mind your words will end in F@#$%6& Faggot. I grew up in a racist state and a community where it was okay to use the “n” word, the headquarters of the KKK were a few miles from my house. I’m white. I fought against the prevailing winds of my community and never used the word, and it was a conscious decision. I did not contribute to the fray. In return, I was branded a “n****r lover”. I didn’t change my mind about it though. This was 40 years ago. Kobe, you need to take a lesson from me, a learned fag: words have power, and you can use that power for the benefit of yourself and others, or you can use it to keep people down, and yourself ignorant.

  20. Rick says

    I would ask Francis a different question. If the player in question had been white, would he have reacted the same way? It seems to me that some progressives use a double standard when the perpetrator of homophobia is a person of color or a woman than if it is a white male. The former are often let off the hook, when the latter never would be. And I think that is what drove Francis’s reaction.

    Some people have become so paranoid of criticizing any individual who belongs to a racial minority, especially African-Americans, for any reason at all, that they will avoid it at all costs and jump on others who do so, regardless of the merits of the criticism.

    Some African-Americans will also, relatedly, defend someone who is black against criticism from whites, regardless of the merits of the criticism, perhaps assuming racism as a motive even when it is not a motive, at all…..the confrontation between animal rights activists and black community leaders over Michael Vick’s reinstatement to the NFL being a good sports-related example of that.

    And that is really not acceptable.

    I think THAT is what is going on with those who tried to poo-poo this incident as unimportant rather than them having internalized homophobia.

    It would be interesting to know whether Francis and JC are, themselves, black…..or just knee-jerk whites.

  21. frank says

    He’s a piece of lying trash – what else is new? It just proves you don’t have to be a decent human being if you can put a ball in a hoop better than most others. The fact that they have immortalized him at Graumann’s Theater among real stars is shocking though even for LA.

  22. Francis says

    Um, no, Rick. I’m not remotely the type of person who judges someone based on race. In fact, I hate the fact so many make everything race related. This incident has nothing to do with race and there is no reason to turn it into a racial argument. Lastly, I not once said this is unimportant or OK. I said from the beginning that his usage of language is wrong, and not defensible. Actually, now that everyone has explained it and made their comments I understand why there is a strong reaction against this and I feel stronger about it than I did previous. With that said, I still think that the usage of words like this in this context is done out of stupidity and a lack of awareness and maturity more than out of pure hate.

  23. Rick says

    @Crispy I should have included you, as well as JC and Francis. Your hyper-sensitivity to race in this instance suggests that you are exactly one of the types of people I am talking about.

    As for your response, Francis, I take it at face value. Perhaps the race of the individual engaging in homophobic behavior or speech does not influence your reaction to them, but one would have to be incredibly naive to think that it does not influence the reaction of many….

    I remember white feminists being outraged at the sight of black women cheering and celebrating when OJ was acquitted after murdering a woman that he had battered and abused–they simply could not grasp why they were siding with a wife-beater, apparently for no other reason than that he was of the same race as them……and I don’t doubt that there are black, gay men (and some racial-guilt-ridden white gay men) who would defend Kobe in a situation like this for exactly the same reason

  24. Chitown Kev says

    Well maybe Kobe can donate a $4 million diamond ring to GLAAD for his sins here.

    But seriously, guys, there wasn’t this much conversation about race when former Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh said the same thing

  25. crispy says

    Rick, Rick, Rick. I highly encourage you to go back to your job folding shirts at the Gap and give up the armchair psychology. It’s not working for ya, hon.

  26. Mark says

    While I do not care for Kobe, I find it mildly humorous that you all have decided that he is a ‘rapist.’

    That case was anything but substantiated as true.

    And I guess those Duke players that were accused of rape are ‘rapists’, too?

    People say stupid things while they are angry.
    He shouldn’t have said it, but I seriously doubt Kobe ‘hates gay people.’

  27. jc says

    jc here. i’m neither black or a knee jerk white. i’m gay,out, and partnered, and not looking to be offended at every slight that exists in the world. i’m well aware of the bullying, and of the hard work of people who have pushed our cause for us, black, white, straight and gay. i’m not defending him or anybody who uses slurs against anyone. this tread of comments illustrates the best and worst of the internet. ranting, name calling, conflating of non-issues. if this clip weren’t posted here, none of us probably would have known it happened. his words aren’t audible, and the announcers and the network took their camera elsewhere. the internet does work when people are caught doing really heinous things and exposed, or rewarded for doing things that would have gone unrecognized in the limited print world that used to dominate our news source. there are huge issues as gay rights gets pulled into politics and affects real lives. pick your battles wisely. to those who say he gives a bad impression (which he does for 2 seconds while we examine his lips moving with no sound) pounce on this with all you’ve got. be aware of the impression you give as petty thought police, discrediting the cause you are so passionate about. perspective people. choose your battles wisely.

  28. Rick says

    @Crispy With every post you make, your motivation is becoming more and more obvious. If you want a legitimate comparison to Kobe, try John Rocker. He was-rightly-raked over the coals for his homophobic remarks, not just by gay media, but by the media generally…..Outsports even came up with a “Rocker scale” for homophobic incidents, as a result

    We will see if anything approaching that level of outrage attaches to Kobe’s remark; I suspect it won’t though, and I suspect we will all know why it didn’t if that proves to be the case……

  29. Jon Mitchell says

    Kobe was caught up in the moment and had no control? Isn’t control what sportsmanship is about? And I guess if we just turn away from his tragic choice to use the F word then we just have to forgive Dr. Laura for her repaeated use of the N word – after all she was caught up in the heat of the moment on her talk show and can’t be held responsible. I’m pretty caught up in the heat of this moment so I’ll have to call Francis and JC and the like minded people posting here “morons of the first degree.” I know you’ll forgive me.

  30. Chitown Kev says


    My point flew entirely over your head.

    There WAS a lot of vitriol thrown at Harbaugh on both of those posts in spite of the fact, as you say, that what Harbaugh actually said was less clear than in this case. And some of the same defenses were made for Harbaugh I am seeing for Bryant on this post.

    I’m only saying that the racially charged commentary was nearly absent from the Harbaugh posts. I wonder why that is.

  31. jc says

    my dearest jon, you proved my point on conflating the issue, well done. on name calling- kudos to you as well. forgiveness for what? your ‘nanny nanny boo boo’ level of discourse? no. thank you, for confirming my points so succinctly.

  32. crispy says

    My motivation? Pointing out that you are stupider than a box of wet hair. It’s really not that complicated… even for someone like yourself with two years of a public high school education at whatever backwater town you grew up in.

  33. Chuck Mielke says

    I notice that Mr. Bryant turns 33 this year. He’s getting too old for excuses like, “He’s young,” or “He’s angry,” or “… in the heat of the moment…” The fact that he said it to himself, not to a team mate, not to the ref, modifies the situation some; he’s not responsible for the camera being on him in this case. There are some terms that come to mind when we feel offended, perhaps unjustly. The word “fag” is, unhappily, one of them; it will take a while for that word to lose its negative value. Beyond that, this is hardly newsworthy. Must we pretend that all of our public figures are inerrant exemplars of cultural values? Isn’t it clear that our “cultural values” are in flux and not all parts of our society hold the exact same values?

  34. booka says

    The “F”-word is illegal, especially if you are not Gay (reprehensable if you are.)It is the new rule, that has been a long time in coming. In that, it’s taboo status trumps all other considerations. How many heads have been bashed in so this could come about? That is a question for that Rapist otherwise known as Mr. Bryant; to answer at his next interview.

  35. Mel Smith says

    White gay folks, don’t make this a black/white issue because your community is way more homophobic. I visited the gym a few months ago and this white boy is screaming “fagg@t,” “fagg@t,” “fagg@t”, at his trainer.”

  36. Ian says

    JC – I call shenanigans on you dude.

    You say in your first post:
    “he was angry. he’s stressed, and he said it to himself. not to the ref. he looks angry.”

    And in a later post you say:
    “i’m not defending him or anybody who uses slurs against anyone”

    You CLEARLY were defending him in your first post. You have some kind of inner conflict about this that you demonstrated in black and white here (no pun intended) and now are tryin to deny. It’s OK, lots of people have to work through these inner conflicts to come to our own conclusions.

    I’ve made up my mind, like many here, they were are going to call people on this no matter how simply will not tolerated. This how we all but obliterated n*gger and that’s how we’ll get rid of f*ggot.

  37. says

    I just confronted a woman on public transit last night about her use of “faggot.” It was a very empowering experience for me. Without going into too many details here (the whole story is on my blog here:, I came out looking like the better person, and the woman ended up looking like a maniac. This needs to be confronted whenever and wherever possible, especially at the upper levels where a lot more people can see. It also needs to be addressed in “casual,” everyday situations, too.

  38. Rick says

    @Chitown Kev OK, maybe I misunderstood you somewhat. I was not actually here for the Harbaugh discussion (I had not yet discovered this site yet), but I was basing my suspicion on a whole lot of past experience. I mean, when gay marriage went down to defeat in the Maryland Senate recently, a black minister publicly gloated about the black church having been the key factor in defeating it. There was a story about that on this site and the criticism in the comments seemed quite muted, given the blatancy of the homophobia on display. Ditto for a recent story about a black woman who was hired for an HR position by the city of Jackson, Michigan despite having been fired from her last job for having made overtly homophobic remarks.

    You find very little such muting of criticism, though, when the perpetrator of the homophobia is a white male. Heck, yesterday, there was a story in which Alan Simpson decried the homophobia in the Republican Party…..and unbelievably, over half the comments were negative, even though his actions were totally positive!

    It is hard not to see the double standard if you pay close attention…..maybe that is not the reason some chose to make excuses for Kobe Bryant in this instance, but it is hard not to be suspicious when there is such a long history with some of the sort I just described….and Crispy’s behavior in this thread demonstrates that tendency pretty clearly, I think….

  39. Jon Mitchell says

    @JC – you’re obviously trying very hard to sound intelligent and logical, so I’m going to forgive you for your childish, playground worthy, outburst. I understand you couldn’t control yourself or recognize the humor of my response.

  40. Rick says

    @Mel Smith I don’t know if black people were taught homophobia by Europeans, as you claim–I mean, homophobia has been pretty universal on this planet since time immemorial.

    However, it is absolutely true that the black church is a direct result of the Fundmentalist “Christian” beliefs that Southern slaveholders forced on the people under their control…….which is why it has always amazed me that, post-slavery and post-segregation, so many blacks have adhered so determinedly to it. That religion is really a product of oppression and it would be hard for me to reconcile the one with the other, if I were African-American.


  41. crispy says

    Gawd, Rick, you’re a stupid d-bag who doesn’t know when to shut the frak up.

    I made no excuses for Kobe Bryant’s language. In fact, I find it reprehensible and particularly disappointing since Kobe is supposed to be better educated and more worldly than the rest of the knuckleheads in the NBA. But I can see how you’d make that leap considering you’re convinced there’s some sort of reverse racism at play for anyone who doesn’t immediately demand that Kobe Bryant be lynched.

    As for lack of criticism on this site of African-Americans who use homophobic language… you must be joking! Welcome to Towleroad, watch your white pointy hat as you enter the door.

    But anyways, your Alan Simpson comment cleared it all up for me: Rick = gay Republican. Which pretty much means you’ve taken far more of my time than you deserve.

  42. redball says

    @Rick: “homophobia has been pretty universal on this planet since time immemorial.”

    So not true. Unless your “planet” consists only of white Christianists. There is documented historical evidence of homosexuality in various African cultures. Homophobia was imported by white colonialists and missionaries, and not just to Africa, but I’m pretty sure also to large parts of Latin and South America, South Asia, etc., etc. Remember those old paintings from high-school history textbooks of Christian Europeans carrying crosses while massacring indigenous Central Americans? Yeah.

  43. deedrdo says

    heat of the moment schmoment. i would never even THINK to yell out “you f***ing n***er.” i say to GLADD, keep the heat on him, the lakers and the NBA.

  44. Craig says

    I’m confused, the LA Times article won’t use the actual slur yet the headline of this article on Towleroad does. Is it okay to say “fag” if you are one? Same as the n-word for black people? If we aren’t happy with it’s use we shouldn’t use it ourselves.

  45. jake says

    i will give him a pass on this..he was just so upset, sometimes words come out of your mouth without thinking…not eveything means anything, people shd stop trivializing.

  46. Jaime says

    His excuse, “heat of the moment”? Wonder if that was the excuse he gave when he raped that girl in Colorado and paid her millions to shut her up.

  47. Chitown Kev says


    What’s funny about that is that Kobe probably grew up far more privileged than Mr. Mike (lived in Italy while his dad played pro ball, learned and speaks 3 languages, etc…)

    and if had gone to college, he has said that he would have gone to Duke…the man is no dummy by any means.

  48. Brad says

    Disgusting, uncalled for, period! Do you know how many gay people are fans of basketball and purchase merchandise and to see that word used on national television is pathetic and immature but this is Kobe who allegedly raped a girl so not surprised.

  49. Cali says

    @Frances, I was wondering who the moronic idiot would be to bring up the tired “Black racial slur analogy” STFU and fight your own battles tard.

  50. truthreller says


    When people are under pressure is when they reveal their true character.

    Someone who does not think being gay is bad will never use it as a pejorative; only someone who feels it is an insult will use it to try and humiliate another human being.

    He can kiss my ass!

  51. Patience says

    “Gay” used to mean “happy” but now it doesn’t. So can we change the meaning of the word “faggot” too? Virtually nobody says “faggot” in reference to homosexuality. It’s only used when someone does something idiotic.

    And $100,000 fine? The world has truly gone absolutely bananas.

  52. kodiak says

    @patience- you mean something idiotic like beating someone
    to death while calling them “faggot”? it’s a slur used to justify physical or emotional violence against someone else.

  53. lejon alexander says

    Kobe that was just the baddest thing to do and you should of none better to do that on live television i just think that was stupid to do because you are a star and u shouldn’t have any problems with anybody so in the future don’t do anything stupid on camera because i like your basketball and i don’t want u to quit this great job that you have

Leave A Reply