John Amaechi, who announced that he was gay after his NBA playing career ended, said he is surprised that people were surprised by Kobe Bryant’s homophic slur.
“I'm surprised that people are surprised,” Amaechi, who played from 1995-2003 and now is a psychologist, told USA Today’s J. Michael Falgoust. “This is common language when I played. It was an everyday word that I heard. I haven't seen anything new put in place [by the NBA] to tackle homophobia. There's no reason for it to somehow get better.”
Bryant was fined $100,000 by NBA Commissioner David Stern and explained the outburst Wednesday. (You can get a good idea of what Bryant said from watching the video.)
“...When he talks, not just young people but sports fans in general listen. They mimic. He sets a tone that says, ‘This is acceptable language when you are frustrated,’ Amaechi said. “It isn't acceptable language. That's the larger extent of the damage. That's like a Glenn Beck non-apology. With a few more words well-chosen he could do some good.
“I don't think he is any more homophobic than the average person, or most certainly your average person in sports. When you're in the spotlight, when a camera is trained on your face on a daily basis, you don't have the luxury of losing control. When you do, I like to see people be a little more contrite than that.”