Steve Buckley, one of my favorite sports columnists, came out of the closet in January. It was a touching event; Buckley described an outpouring of support from some of the best of the Boston sports community. Stalwarts like Dustin “The Destroyah” Pedroia, the Kraft family, Terry “Tito” Francona, Kevin “Greek God of Walks” Youkilis, and Curt “Never Met A Soundbite I Didn’t Like” Schilling voiced their support for Buckley.
Someone named Bobby Orr did too. Maybe you’ve heard of him?
One of the questions in the aftermath was whether or not a gay man can exist as a sports columnist. The consensus among the Boston media pundits was Buck will be just fine.
It’s a good thing Buckley’s not a Lakers fan.
For those of you that missed it, Kobe Bryant got caught yelling an anti-gay slur at a referee in a game after he got a technical foul. The offensive statement was made in the midst of a petulant tantrum that would make most 3-year olds jealous. Bryant can clearly be seen yelling calling the name of the offending referee and calling him a “fucking faggot.”
The NBA, to its credit, acted swiftly, fining Bryant $100,000.00. That kind of money, as fines go, is astronomical.
Bryant issued a statement the next day, reassuring people that his slur should “not be taken literally.”
That could have been real ugly.
Bryant used a term derogatory to homosexuals, but like, it’s fine. He didn’t actually think the guy was gay.
This is bush-league, to say the least, and Bryant’s been around the block a few times. He’s 32, has children, and is married.
For whatever that’s worth.
The point is, Kobe’s not new to this. The NBA is known to draft players directly from high school. Were Bryant a fresh-faced youth, this might look slightly different. Inexcusable still, but at least explainable. Bryant’s a grown man; one would hope that idiocy like that leaves your system as you say, become a mature adult.
Bryant should be on top of his game, with the nation at large distracted by Lebron James and his rampant arrogance.
Previously, the debate was Kobe vs. Lebron: who was the best? James was able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory when he made enough of a spectacle of himself to make people actually like Bryant. That was no small feat, especially considering Kobe’s cloudy track record. Regardless, the perception changed…quickly.
Lebron has no titles, they said. Kobe’s got five. Lebron is more concerned with marketing than winning. Kobe has the cold, black heart of an assassin, a singular focus on winning at all costs.
What we learned this week is that Kobe Bryant has the heart of a champion and the brain of a 13 year-old.
Note: The Advocate also has a great article this week that broaches on similar themes to what I just wrote about. Check it out.