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Kobe Bryant Records ‘Words Could Be Hurtful’ PSA

Kobe Bryant Records ‘Words Could Be Hurtful’ PSA

Following Bryant’s much talked about use of a gay slur during a basket ball game last week, the Lakers player has now recorded a message to fans in which he says that our differences are “what [makes] the world special.”

In the video his teammates join him in urging fans to celebrate the differences we share in race, ethnicity, political beliefs, religion and sexual orientation.

Bryant then ends by telling fans that “words could be hurtful” and asking that fans cultivate “understanding, compassion and acceptance” of others and their differences in order to make the world a better place.

GLAAD, who demanded an apology and action from the NBA following the incident last week, has praised the video:

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. 

This video is a welcome addition to the NBA’s existing anti-bullying efforts – which were actually started long before last week’s incident. The NBA has been working with our friends at GLSEN for quite some time on a campaign to teach its fans about the power of words.  (An ad featuring Phoenix Suns players Grant Hill and Jared Dudley will air during the NBA Finals.)

You can watch the PSA over at the GLAAD blog.

Bryant was fined $100,000 following the incident, which is estimated to be the highest that a player has been fined by the NBA concerning a gay slur. He is currently appealing the fine. Bryant is estimated to earn around $3 million a year.

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Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to Keith Allison.

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6:17PM PDT on Jul 1, 2011

He does what he must.

9:40AM PDT on Apr 25, 2011

Kathleen D.,

How exactly is Kobe getting off? He is being fined 100,000 dollars.

What exactly do you expect the NBA to do? Ban him for using an offensive word? Good luck with that one.

7:34PM PDT on Apr 23, 2011

Bryant is estimated to earn about 3 million a year.


Kobe earns far more than that. He earns about 25 million a year from the Lakers. he earns more in endorsements.

From what I understand, he does not have much of a choice in appealing the fine, that is something the Player's Association automatically does.

I'm glad he is taking this step. Hopefully it will drive home the point that these words are hurtful. How would Kobe feel if he heard one Caucasian refer to another Caucasian with the N-word. That would be the logical equivalent of what he did, considering neither he nor the official is gay.

This will probably break down into a bunch of modestly intellected people bitching about how much money Kobe makes. He makes a lot of money because basketball is very profitable. If you don't want NBA players to make a whole lot of cash, convince people to stop going to games, and to quit watching them on TV. If that were to happen, player salaries would plummet.

And please, let us not have some idiot make a comment about how it is sexist that NBA players make more than WNBA players. When the WNBA generates the revenue of the NBA, the WNBA players will make the same kind of money.

6:11PM PDT on Apr 23, 2011

I am all for forgiveness but I am sick of the celebrities getting off 'easy' because they make wealthy investers or team owners extremely wealthy. Jocks continue to behave badly and frankly when children look to them as role models and emmulate the actions and profanity of their idols, forgiving their offenses is just not enough. It takes the offender a willingness to change for good their behavior and from what I've seen, change is only temporary...until the next time. How many 'passes' should they get?

4:53PM PDT on Apr 23, 2011

I applaud Kobe for trying to lead his fans to a more tolerant approach. Jesus, so long ago, taught the most airtight and perfect general love and tolerance course possible. Even to loving your enemy as yourself, doing him no dirt, being kind to him when he lets you, at least respecting his personhood. If you are not Christian, fine, but I commend you to study him. It is a course on how to get along on an ever-more-crowded planet. And if someone lets fly for any reason, upset or ignorant or whatever the case may be, let us forgive him. Let us rise above these things. But if we fear he is teaching someone, a cult following or something, we should speak out like this. Kobe apparently let fly on an open mike or something, but a private comment in private circles that does not stir up a mob, lynch mob or otherwise, is of course harmless.

4:08PM PDT on Apr 23, 2011

African American athlete get passes just as white 'Christian' athlete's do and when anyone gets a 'pass' because they are a jock, a celebrity, rich, rather than because they've been found innocent or acquited, is nothing short of heinous. The color of one's skin should make no difference and neither should their celebrity status.

12:16AM PDT on Apr 23, 2011

Doesn't he get a pass because he isn't a white Christian?

12:09PM PDT on Apr 22, 2011

Well gee Michael, he was accused of raping, he had the money to fight it and clear his name but he made a very big out of court settlement after the young woman received many death threats which had been well documented. He also tried to make it a consensual sexual contact after lying he'd ever been involved sexually with another woman outside of his marriage. Then, he bought his wife a huge diamond to stand by her man.

Now, I'm sure Michael, you were there and no for a fact he did not rape the young woman. This is one more case of an athlete's very bad behavior being excused because of his celebrity status. Women have little chance of escaping being a victim when there is always the good ole' boy's club.

This is also has nothing to with other celebrities since this article is about Bryant. Using slurs of any kind to define a group or individual is not acceptable behavior and even less so with a celebrity who should be a role model to youth instead of man who using his celebrity status to get away with crimes and indiscretions.

11:10AM PDT on Apr 22, 2011

People these days you the word faggot and other terms inexplicitly, not actually intending to insult the person's gender. Nonetheless, what Kobe did was wrong. It is unfortunate such a term has developed such a negative connotation in our society. But it is not just Kobe, there are tons of other high profile people, such as in the music and move industry who are guilty of the same trespasses. And btw, Kobe did not rape anyone.

10:46AM PDT on Apr 22, 2011

Ahhh....Kobe Bryant. What a guy! Full of apologies when it's a convenient device to get his own ass out of hot water. I seem to remember another case not long ago where he was charged with rape but has walked away virtually unscathed in that event as well. As far as the 100,000.00, chump change for one who is reaping in millions as an adored athelete.

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