Last week, Manchester United superstar Wayne Rooney cursed a blue streak at an innocent television camera, instantly launching the cursing careers of millions of children. ‘‘Mum, Dad, **** you!!’’ A couple of nights ago, NBA superstar Kobe Bryant dusted off and used one of the uglier, more ignorant and stupid homophobic slur words available and threw it at an official.
Fascinatingly, in one case, the perpetrator was suspended. In the other, he was fined about a billionth of his weekly salary. NBA head honcho David Stern called the Bryant incident ‘Offensive and inexcusable’ If that’s the case, why didn’t he do something tangible about it? Fining Kobe Bryant $100,000 is like someone in work fining me $5 for cursing in the coffee room. Fining him that amount means absolutely nothing in real world terms. In basically letting Bryant away with his incredibly arrogant, stupid and ignorant slur, the NBA has shown that no, really, it doesn’t care.
Kobe has come out with a bland, timid statement saying his use of the word does not reflect his feelings on the gay and lesbian community. No word on if there’s any change on his attitude to women, but, we have a fairly good idea how he feels about them already.
If you are sitting there thinking to yourself, ‘Hey, give Kobe a break, everyone curses in the NBA’ well forget about it. The NBA has gone to great lengths to cut down on any sort of disrespect shown towards their officials. Quite literally, if you look at an NBA official wrong, you get ‘T-d up’, as they say. You are assessed a technical foul.
Furthermore, Kobe is a superstar, and with that comes great responsibility. We all know this, it barely warrants repeating. Everyone knows millions of children idolize Bryant, and you can bet plenty of kids went home and asked Mom and Dad these last few days, ‘Mum, Dad, what’s a f*****?’
All of that makes the NBA’s decision to slap Kobe gently on the wrist with such a pathetic penalty all the more confusing. What exactly were they trying to achieve here? The incredibly low fine, and lack of suspension, is an insult to the gay community and makes a mockery of the completely pointless ‘NBA cares’ (in the community) mantra. If the NBA really cared, Kobe Bryant would be riding the pine on a lengthy suspension, including the playoffs. The fact of the matter is, the NBA only cares about money, hence the pathetic, meaningless and completely hollow penalty.
When all is said and done, how can anyone be surprised at this? Bryant has shown in the past a remarkable ability to slither his way out of trouble, and this appears to be just another one of those situations.
NBA Cares? As Wayne Rooney would say, **** that!