In response to reactions to his use of an anti-gay slur during a game last Tuesday,which was caught on national TV, Kobe Bryant sat for an extended interview on ESPN to talk more about the incident. Because I have been one of Kobe’s critics on this incident, I want to say that, for the first time, what Kobe says feels like a step in the right direction. What is most important to me is that he appears to understand the negative impact on young people that his comment has and he talks with more understanding about his responsibilities as a role model for young people.
He also says that he thinks it is important to take some actions to raise awareness about anti-gay slurs and turn what has been a negative event into a positive learning experience, “I believe it’s our responsibility as athletes and those in the spotlight to bring awareness of these issues. It’s coming from a negative light, but it’s our responsibility to make it into a positive and raise awareness as much as we can and say it’s not okay to insult or discriminate. It’s not the right thing to do.”
This sounds great. I hope that, after the media attention fades, that we can count on Kobe to turn this stated commitment into action. He has such a great opportunity here to do something really important for young people. Let’s hope he follows through.