Kobe Bryant fined for making homophobic slur

14:27, April 14, 2011      

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West All Star Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers holds the MVP trophy after the NBA All-Star basketball game in Los Angeles, the United States, Feb. 20, 2011. The West team beat East team 148-143. (Xinhua/Qi Heng)

The NBA on Wednesday imposed a 100,000 U.S. dollar fine on Kobe Bryant who using a homophobic slur aimed at a referee during Tuesday night's game.

"Kobe Bryant's comment during last night's game was offensive and inexcusable," NBA Commissioner David Stern said in announcing the fine. "While I'm fully aware that basketball is an emotional game, such a distasteful term should never be tolerated. Accordingly, I have fined Kobe $100,000.

"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," Stern said.

There was no immediate response from Bryant. The Lakers guard is expected to be questioned about the fine and his comment when he meets with reporters at tonight's game in Sacramento, California, according to John Black, the Los Angeles Lakers vice president of public relations.

Bryant issued a statement earlier on Wednesday insisting that what he said "should not be taken literally."

"My actions were out of frustration during the heat of the game, period," Bryant said. "The words expressed do not reflect my feelings towards the gay and lesbian communities and were not meant to offend anyone."

TNT's coverage of the game showed Bryant appearing to make the comments to referee Bennie Adams while sitting on the bench after being called for a technical foul during the third quarter of a 102-93 victory over the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center. Audio was not available.

"What a disgrace for Kobe Bryant to use such horribly offensive and distasteful language, especially when millions of people are watching," said the Human Rights Campaign, which describes itself as the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization.

The group welcomed the NBA's decision to fine Bryant, saying "such swift and decisive action will send a strong and universal message that this kind of hateful outburst is simply inexcusable, no matter what the context."

"We applaud Commissioner Stern and the NBA for not only fining Bryant, but for recognizing that slurs and derogatory comments have no place on the basketball court or in society at large," said the group's president Joe Solmonese.

Source: Xinhua
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