The NBA will fine L.A. Laker Kobe Bryant $100,000 for using antigay words toward a referee Tuesday night.
Bryant was caught yelling at the referee after he punched a chair on the sidelines. Video showed him mouthing an antigay slur at the referee, but audible confirmation from the bench was not immediately available.
Bryant was fined $100,000 Wednesday afternoon for using the slur, but he announced that he will file an appeal against the fine. NBA
Commissioner David Stern called Bryant's actions "offensive and
inexcusable." He added, "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."
Bryant is one of the highest paid players in the NBA, pulling in nearly $25 million this season.
"What I said last night should not be taken literally," Bryant said in a
statement earlier Wednesday afternoon. "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."
Bryant scored 27 points in Tuesday night's game, taking the team to a 102-93 win against the Spurs.
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has reached out to the Los Angeles Lakers about the outburst.
"Discriminatory slurs have no place on or off the court," said GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios. "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 L.A. Lakers have a responsibility to educate their fans about why this word is unacceptable."
The organization later called for more action against homophobia and antigay language.