Last Tuesday, Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant created a bit of a firestorm when he called referee Bennie Adams by a homophobic slur during a regular-season game against the Spurs. He was fined $100k by the league, but his apology seemed somewhat lacking in that he did not totally own up to his actions, instead claiming he didn't mean it. The problem with that take is that, even though Bryant didn't think Adams is actually gay, the word still hurts.
To his credit, Bryant is making more efforts to repair his relations with the LGBT community. As you can see above, Bryant and four of his Laker teammates have recorded a short public service announcement about valuing all people, especially those with differences. While other Lakers discuss elements like religion, Kobe tackles sexual orientation. The message ran during the second quarter of Wednesday night's game against the Hornets at Staples Center and will presumably continue for the rest of the playoffs and beyond.
Aaron McQuade of GLAAD applauded the video at the gay rights organization's website:
After meeting with GLAAD and other groups last week -and after we suggested the team send a message about language to its fans at home games - the Lakers took the initiative in creating this script and shooting the video at their practice facility. We thank the Lakers for taking this issue seriously and for taking the time out of their playoff preparations to film this message for fans.
It'd still be nice to see a full apology from Kobe for what he said, but this is a great gesture that should help matters. No, it can't make up for saying the word in the first place. Still, it helps.
- Kobe Bryant