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Kobe’s homophobic slur: How does Mill see it?

April 15, 2011

As many sports fans know, Kobe Bryant is known for garnering both attention on and off the court, a lot of the time being in a negative light. This past weeks game against the Spurs was no different, right? Wrong. His recent attention has dealt not with the law, no accused rape, or abusive spousal accusations. Instead, Kobe is dealing with a much broader and complex situation.

In the second to last game of the season, Kobe Bryant received a technical foul, after storming to the bench in anger, he yelled at the referee and appeared to call him a homophobic slur. The next day he received a $100,000 fine from the league and all sorts of human rights groups were jumping on the bandwagon to show their disdain for his actions. His slur brings in the question of freedom of speech and just how far it goes. My question is what would Mill and his stance on freedom of speech have to say about Kobe’s actions.Would he approve of all the negative attention, or find it unnecessary?

During games, in the heat of the moment players often say and do things that they later regret. A missed shot, stupid penalty, frustrating fouls, they all add up to a burning fuel that is an athlete’s emotion, and often they let this emotion out in a distasteful manner. Bring in Kobe Bryant. His frustration clearly led to an unfortunate situation where he was caught saying something society clearly states he shouldn’t. Despite this clearly not being the worst thing that has been caught said by an athlete and probably not even Kobe Bryant, nonetheless the situation has arisen. Mill’s stance on the freedom of speech describes how he is in avid defense of it. He believes that it is impossible to know whether an unheard opinion does not in fact hold the truth, he thinks free speech by everyone is necessary for social progress.

The dilemma is whether or not you think saying something is worthy of assuming you approve of those words. I am personally not in defense of what Kobe said. I think that in today’s society, despite have a freedom of speech, there are certain words and things that we simply can say. There are moral boundaries that are crossed in society when we decide to utter specific slurs that may not even be directed at certain groups. However, are his actions worthy of a hefty fine, and not to mention the media backlash? I don’t think that Kobe is a homophobe just for saying what he did, however I think that once again because of our society’s sensitivity on topics such as the LGBT community, repercussions must be enforced.

In regards to Mill, I think he would see Kobe as having the right to call the referee as he wishes, however I think it can be agreed that he would see it as offensive towards society. Mill stands on the point that every opinion can have a truth behind it, however false statements, or in this case slanderous ones should be aired out. Mills felt that it could benefit society because it would help those people to re-think their opinions and thus change their thoughts. Thus, in this case I think Mill would see Kobe’s comments as a blessing in disguise, considering how much attention it has brought up, the fact that our society cares so much about this topic is very touching. I think especially the fact that Kobe has so adamantly apologized and offered to help groups promote the banning of such words is enlightening. Although it can be said that he is simply trying to clean up his image, nonetheless he is taking action. This is something that perhaps a generation ago would’ve gone unscathed. I think our older generation’s conflict with the “n” word has become our generation’s conflict with the “f” word.

Overall, I think Mill would agree that with today’s society in mind, Kobe’s comments were clearly inappropriate and deserving of the negative attention it received. It’s similar to his pain principle in that although it may be simply an act between individual’s, nonetheless it is detrimental to the growth and progression of society in the future. As sticky a situation as Kobe is in, I think it is fair to say that he is deserving of the punishments which hopefully will foster for a better community rid of slanderous words in years come.

2 Comments
  1. Josh Platko permalink
    April 17, 2011 3:27 PM

    As a huge Laker fan and Kobe Bryant supporter, to see this side of Kobe is nonetheless dissapointing. Kobe has had a shaky past but as have many other celebrities. Bryant was aware that it was a problem after the game. Like he said in an interview, it is very tough to control your emotions in a big time game. He will be talking to these groups that were offended, and in the long run that may in fact be good for the groups. With a big name such as Kobe Bryant coming to talk, should bring in big media and popularity that the groups want. As you said, Mill most likely wouldn’t agree with what Kobe did. Our society today seems to agree with many of the ideas that Mill talked about. As for this one, he would agree with the comissioner who fined Bryant. The large fine should make a statement telling players no matter how close a game is, unacceptable comments will not be tolerated.

  2. April 19, 2011 12:07 AM

    I agree with you that Mill would not agree with Kobe Bryant’s remarks toward an official because of the homophobic slur is considered offensive in society. Mill would definitely agree that the $100,000 fine and public scrutiny that has followed his actions are definitely just. I feel however that Kobe may be getting too much heat from the public. Being one of the most iconic figures in sports, Kobe has a camera on him at all times. How many people out there can say that if someone watched their every move they would have a slip up similar to Kobe’s. In the middle of an intense game with playoff implications Kobe lost his cool and what he said is definitely not acceptable, but I feel that it was an honest mistake with no harmful intentions. I do agree with the fine however because I feel that this will show other players that actions like this wont be tolerated by the NBA.

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