Kobe Bryant does a 180 on homophobia
by Chris Chase, USA TODAY Sports
Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports
Kobe Bryant, who was fined two years ago for using a gay slur toward a referee, scolded two Twitter users for using homophobic language over the weekend.
He tweeted: “Just letting you know @pacsmoove @pookeo9 that using ‘your gay’ as a way to put someone down ain’t ok! #notcool delete that out ur vocab.”
Bryant was responding to a message from user @pookeo9, a 16-year-old Canadian, and a subsequent response from @pacsmoove.
The first tweet was directed to the @kobebryant handle and read, “Let’s make out in bed Kobe.”
@Pacsmove retweeted that message, adding “you’re gay” to the beginning.
Bryant responded with the admonishment, then acknowledged his past issues with using homophobic language when confronted by another Twitter user.
“Exactly,” he wrote. “That wasn’t cool and was ignorant on my part. I own it and learn from it and expect the same from others.”
Bryant was fined $100,000 in April 2011 for using a slur toward a referee.
The co-founder of You Can Play, a website dedicated to making locker rooms safe from homophobia, said he was excited about Bryant’s turnaround.
“His actions are proof that athletes who use casual homophobia can be educated on this issue,” Patrick Burke told OutSports. “Athletes who are given a chance to learn from their mistakes can become some of the LGBT community’s most valuable supporters.”
Bryant’s tweet didn’t make an immediate impact on the two young men he addressed. The first defended his “joke” and the second said he was “mad as hell” that Kobe embarrassed him.