A Better Response

Posted: Thursday, April 21, 2011 by Travis Cody in

Making mistakes is part of life.  Taking responsibility for your mistakes is a sign of maturity.  Learning from your mistakes, and investing yourself in making things better, is a sign of humanity.

Last week, Kobe Bryant used a gay slur to express his displeasure with referee Bernie Adams.  The NBA fined him $100k.  Mr Bryant attempted several different types of explanation for his outburst, none of which contained the words "I'm sorry for my inappropriate remarks".

After several days of being publicly called out, Mr Bryant finally worked out the taking responsibility part of making a mistake.  He said that his comment was "stupid and ignorant.  In this situation, seeing how many people were affected, it helps you understand the weight that comes from that word.  That's why it's very important for me to communicate how sorry I am to use the word". 

So now, fair is fair.  Mr Bryant may have had a tough time getting an actual apology to come out of his mouth, but Kobe and the Lakers do know the value of positive public responsibility.  This is what Kobe and the Lakers intend, from a statement issued by Lakers spokesman John Black:

"What happened in Tuesday night's game is not representative of what the Lakers stand for.  We want to reaffirm our commitment to all our fans and our appreciation for the support we receive from all segments of society.  We also understand the importance of positive messages in helping us convey this.  We appreciate the input we've received from GLAAD the past two days and will look forward to working with them on ways to help educate ourselves and our fans, and to help keep language like this out of our game."

Kobe made a mistake with his remark.  It may have taken him a few days, but he is now taking responsibility for his mistake.  Now he and the Lakers are looking to turn the negative into a positive message of respect.

I could be cynical and suggest that it's all about PR and damage control.  And I'm not about to give Mr Bryant any credit, because his use of the derogatory term was ignorantly and intentionally designed to hurt.   But I'm going to choose to believe in the sincerity of what Kobe and the Lakers are doing in the aftermath, to build this relationship with GLAAD.

I believe that words have power.  Negative words hurt.  Positive words can heal.

It would be nice if Mr Bryant would re-think his appeal of the $100k fine.  Instead, perhaps Kobe could pay the fine and suggest that the NBA donate the money to the It Gets Better Project.  What better way to demonstrate your sincerity than in action?

My Lakers played a committed game last night to beat New Orleans and even the best of 7 series at 1 win each.  Although Kobe didn't have a very good scoring game with 15 points, he played strong defense.

Before the game, Lamar Odom accepted the NBA's 6th Man Award.  Then he went on to have an outstanding game, with 16 points and 7 rebounds.  Andrew Bynum took control of the lane, finishing with 17 points and 11 rebounds.  Ron Artest added 16 points, and combined with Kobe to harass Hornets guard Chris Paul into just 20 points.

I can't call it a great game.  It was clunky and much too physical for my taste.  Players from both teams spent a lot of time yelping to the officials.  New Orleans hurt itself with very poor free throw shooting.  But as I've said, you need 16 wins however you can get them, and that's 1.

The series shifts to New Orleans for game 3 on Friday.


  1. Anonymous says:

    I'm not familiar with the situation mentioned above. I truly wish people would think before they speak.

  1. Travis, I am glad that you suggested donating his fines.

    Happy Easter to you and Pam.

  1. 100,000 is a pretty big lump of money. SOme good could be done with that.

  1. Kobe is just like all the other highly paid "athletes" instant asshole.

  1. Akelamalu says:

    If only people put their brains in grear before they opened their mouths. :(

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great post, Trav. Sorry diffuses a lot. I thought of the Czech President who stole the diamon studded pen about the same time KB used the innappropriate slur. The Czech President had a statement rather quickly saying he admittedly had a problem. It took KB a little longer.

  1. I am proud of the Lakers. Mr Bryant was forced to say the sorry word

    He does not get a clean slate from me. Sorry

    I understand the appeal is pretty much automatic, so I will not give him grief for that, but maybe another $100,000.00 from his pocket to show his sorrow?