Why Kobe’s Slur Wasn’t Anti-Gay

Not all members of the gay community think the basketball star's use of the other f-word was homophobic -- and it certainly doesn't compare to using the n-word.

The current beef brewing over Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant’s courtside cursing demonstrates once again the willingness of America’s LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) leadership to take a brother down by any means necessary. Bryant, once accused of rape and certifiably a hothead, came under the wrath of major LGBT institutions like HRC and GLAAD after calling a referee a “fucking faggot” in response to receiving a technical foul during Tuesday’s match against the San Antonio spurs.

Armed with their well-oiled media machine, both groups quickly issued formal statements blasting Bryant, which were snapped up by major LGBT blogs whose writers and readers have now declared the pro-baller America’s homophobe-in-chief.

Although Bryant’s word choice is certainly unfortunate, equally worrisome is the near-instant racial — and racist — overtones now permeating this debate. At its core is the comparison of the word “faggot” with “nigger,” a comparison that has become emblematic of the LGBT movement’s unabashed co-option of the African-American struggle. In this case, reader comments on blog after blog repeatedly invoke the word “nigger” in their Kobe takedown as — in the words of Joe.My.God reader “beeblmeyer” — they “wonder how Mr. Bryant would feel if someone said, ‘Fucking nigger.’ “

The real wonder here is how folks could think there is anything to compare in the first place. Without a doubt, Bryant uttered the epithet in anger, but in a fit of homophobia? Not necessarily, at least until we know for certain whether referee Bennie Adams is gay.

Despite what gay, black ex-NBA player John Amaechi might have said in today’s USA Today, calling someone a “fucking nigger” has an entirely different historical meaning and context. A black person is called a nigger precisely and exclusively because he is black. Period. And the core of the word’s offense — and racism — stems from this sheer conspicuousness. I’ve been called a nigger more than once, and there’s no doubt it was because of the color of my skin, not because I’d pissed someone off.