Tag Archives: Nike Full of Hot Air

John Amaechi’s Response to Kobe Bryant

16 Apr

A True Role Model

John Amaechi is the former N.B.A. player who came out of the closet and identifies as a gay man. His comments regarding Kobe Bryant’s gay slur are worth noting. First, I think all of us need to know that Bryant is now appealing the $100,000 fine, less than pocket change for him. I will be contacting Nike again to get their response.  I’m not encouraged.  The interview I had with Nike left me with the feeling that they will support him regardless, thus not having any substance behind their diversity statement. Bryant’s apology is seemingly more and more like hollow words recommended by his PR person. My faith in Nike is now also starting to deteriorate.  Nike’s continued support of Kobe sends a clear message that it will continue to be unsafe for gay athletes to live their lives honestly. If we are to really believe both Bryant and Nike, Bryant will not only pay the fine, but donate his time and money to an LGBT cause, as Nike should be donating some money to an LGBT cause. Amaechi does a lovely job with this brief summary and analysis:

When someone with the status of Kobe Bryant, arguably the best basketball player in a generation, hurls that antigay slur at a referee or anyone else — let’s call it the F-word — he is telling boys, men and anyone watching that when you are frustrated, when you are as angry as can be, the best way to demean and denigrate a person, even one in a position of power, is to make it clear that you think he is not a real man, but something less.

I challenge you to freeze-frame Bryant’s face in that moment of conflict with the referee Bennie Adams. Really examine the loathing and utter contempt, and realize this is something with which almost every lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender person is familiar. That is the sentiment people face in middle and high schools, in places of worship, work and even in their own homes across the United States.

Right now in America young people are being killed and killing themselves simply because of the words and behaviors they are subjected to for being perceived as lesbian or gay, or frankly just different. This is not an indictment of the individuals suffocated by their mistreatment, it is an indication of the power of that word, and others like it, to brutalize and dehumanize. This F-word, which so many people seem to think is no big deal, is the postscript to too many of those lives cut short.

For me, it has become clear that this is not just a case of homophobia, but that there are different rules for the super rich and for celebrities.  I am just horribly saddened that Kobe Bryant is a hero for anyone.  You know this is not a good person when Dick Cheney says: “I really need to get to know that good guy Kobe.”  Click here for the full article.

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