The National Basketball Association fined Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers $100,000 on Wednesday for “offensive and inexcusable” comments he made during Tuesday night’s game, the league said in a statement.
NBA Commissioner David Stern called Bryant’s outburst “offensive and inexcusable.”
“While I’m fully aware that basketball is an emotional game, such a distasteful term should never be tolerated,” Stern said in a statement. “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.”
Meanwhile, TMZ is reporting that Bryant has apologized to a gay rights organization. The embattled lakers guard spoke with Human Rights Campaign head Joe Solmonese, who told TMZ:
“I applaud Kobe Bryant for his swift apology. We had a very sincere conversation in which he expressed his heartfelt regret for the hurt that his words caused.”
Solmonese adds: “He told me that it’s never OK to degrade or tease, and that he understands how his words could unfortunately give the wrong impression that this is appropriate conduct.
“At the end of a difficult day, I applaud Kobe for coming forward and taking responsibility for his actions.”
Earlier we reported …
Kobe Bryant Releases Statement on Slur; Gay Rights Groups Unload
*Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant issued a statement Wednesday afternoon addressing the gay slur he appeared to have hurled at referee Bennie Adams during Tuesday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs.
As previously reported, Bryant was hit with a technical foul in the 3rd quarter, stormed to the bench, hit his seat before sitting down, threw a towel and then yelled, “Bennie!” toward the court. Bryant then leaned back and muttered what appeared to be the words, “f**king f**got!”
“What I said last night should not be taken literally,” Bryant said in a statement. “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.”
The video from Tuesday’s game “is under review” by the NBA, league spokesman Tim Frank said to ESPNLosAngeles.com via email.
“We haven’t seen the video, so it would be inappropriate for us to comment on it,” a Lakers spokesperson told ESPNLosAngeles.com earlier Wednesday.
On Monday, the league rescinded Bryant’s 15th technical of the season. If it had stood, he would have received his 16th on Tuesday and would have been suspended for the Lakers’ season finale. If he receives another T on Wednesday, he would be suspended for the first game next season. Technical counts start over in the playoffs.
Meanwhile, advocacy groups condemned Bryant’s comments on Wednesday.
The Human Rights Campaign — a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization — said in a statement: “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.”
The president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, also put out a statement.
“Discriminatory slurs have no place on or off the court,” Jarrett Barrios said. “Professional sports players need to set a better example for young people who use words like this on the playground and in our schools, creating a climate of intolerance and hostility. The LA Lakers have a responsibility to educate their fans about why this word is unacceptable.”