I’ve been treading in waters I usually don’t tread this week. I write romance novels and I don’t like to go here. But if Kobe Bryant can call someone a faggot in public, I find it hard to not write something about it.
I read an article by a sports columnist, David Whitley, who writes for sportingnews.com, about the Kobe Bryant comment. This is the title of the article: Was the NBA’s $100,000 fine of Kobe Bryant a case of political correctness run amok? And I found it interesting the way Mr. Whitley didn’t actually come out with anything substantial. Yet the title of the article suggests poor unfortunate Kobe Bryant was treated unfairly when compared to other comments made by other athletes in the past.
Here’s what Whitley thinks: In the wake of the NBA’s $100,000 fine of Kobe Bryant for using a gay slur, David Whitley thinks the league needs to go a better job of defining its policies on punishing players for their words.
Considering Kobe makes $24.8 million a year, $100,000 wasn’t nearly enough. That said, I can’t help wondering whether political correctness factored in. Would Bryant have gotten off easier if he’d slurred a different group?
And here’s what I think: Blah, blah, blah… Helen Thomas was forced to retire in disgrace for a comment she made about Jews. If Barbara Walters slipped even slightly with a slur like Kobe made, they’d bury her. And we all know what happened to Don Imus after he made a racial slur. And I personally don’t see how it’s possible to weigh one negative slur against another. A slur is a slur and it doesn’t matter who the “group” is. In fact, anyone in almost any other position in America would suffer far worse than Kobe Bryant did with that insignificant little fine.
But the bigger picture here is that Mr. Whitley seems to be ignoring a serious point. It’s not about being politically correct, especially when you call someone a faggot, which is what Kobe was fined for. It’s about something far deeper. It makes me wonder what Kobe Bryant is all about. I don’t use slurs against anyone, in public or in private, because I know it’s wrong. And I think most people would agree.
There’s a certain amount of arrogance that goes along with a high profile position like Kobe Bryant’s, especially with professional athletes. Unfortunately, fans tend to put them up on a pedestal and these irresponsible, arrogant people take advantage of the position as often as they can. Because they know they can, or, because they simply don’t know any better. Either way it’s wrong.
I understand where David Whitley is coming from. And Mr. Whitley made it clear he doesn’t support what Kobe said. But I couldn’t disagree with Mr. Whitley more. If it were up to me, there wouldn’t be fines for professional athletes like Kobe Bryant in cases like this. They would be fired on the spot and held accountable for their actions and words. Zero tolerance. After all, if you’re making over 24 million bucks a year, the least you can do is take responsibility for what you say.
If it happened to anyone else, they’d be fired. I can’t even imagine what would happen if a school teacher called a child a faggot in a classroom. But we put Kobe Bryant up on a pedestal and all he gets is a fine that means nothing to him.