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.

And hopefully they’ll soon start doing that, now that Bryant has been slapped with a $100,000 fine by the NBA and released an official apology statement to GLAAD late Wednesday. Sounding both on message and most likely sincere, Bryant said that his actions “were out of frustration during the heat of the game … [and] do not reflect my feelings towards the gay and lesbian communities.” I, for one, never thought they did.

Bryant is not the first black man taken to task by the LGBT lynch mob for calling a colleague a faggot. Back in 2007, Isaiah Washington went on an infamous anti-gay tirade against his Grey’s Anatomy co-star T.R. Knight. Here, however, the homophobia is incontestable. Knight is gay, and there’s little doubt that Washington chose his words accordingly.

The outcry — though oversized — was justified and understandable; and while Washington may have lost his career, the nation was provided with an important “teachable moment” in the battle to combat homophobia and mass media’s role in it.

Meanwhile, from complaints about “gay apartheid” to declarations that “gay is the new black,” LGBT leaders demonstrate a kind of movement mooching never before seen in the history of identity politics. Yet like the word “holocaust” for Jews or “genocide” for Rwandans, the word “nigger” — because of all it conveys — is a sacred statement that must be kept off-limits from those who would massage its meaning. Using it in the context of Bryant’s slur is that kind of abuse, writ large.