Given the number of kids who look up to Kobe Bryant, the loose use of this slur among kids, the rate of harassment of gay teenagers, and the number of them who commit suicide every year, the best outcome here would be for Kobe to turn a negative into a positive: He could make a public service commercial for the Trevor Project, the "It Gets Better" Project, or one of the gay-straight alliances, urging teenagers to drop use of that word and sensitize them to the impact on their classmates.
As anyone who has played competitive sports understands, in the heat of battle athletes often impulsively blurt out profanities that in a calmer moment in a different context, they would never say. Are we really that overreactive, oversensitive, and insecure in our "gotcha" culture that we have to punish someone for free speech that was just in bad taste? If Kobe Bryant is punished, should we also fine the millions of non-athletes who use similar language during rush-hour traffic, cursing the IRS, or during a tiff with their spouse? Give me a break.
Yes, Kobe Bryant's outburst was offensive, boorish and childish. Yes, it calls for a public apology. But honestly, must we endure paragraph-long explanations for every "gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender advocacy, civil rights, and anti-defamation" group under the sun? The Thursday Sports section reads like a style sheet for political correctness.
I am bothered by oversensitive watchdogs jumping on Kobe and blowing this out of proportion. Much the way Plaschke does in taking the politically correct stance and demanding another pound of flesh from Kobe. Kobe was angry, forgot the camera is always on him, but has apologized. Let's move on. Personally, I am more concerned about Bynum's knee than Kobe's mouth.
Add Kobe's temper tantrum slur to those of Al Campanis and Jimmy the Greek for a trifecta of homophobic and racist impudence.
Well, I'm glad Kobe at least shows equal disrespect for women and men.
Once again Phil Jackson and I watched another large lead evaporate. This time with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game against Sacramento, the Lakers turn a 20-point lead into a three-point deficit with eight seconds to go. As the lead vanished before our eyes, Phil sat frozen, like he was the Lincoln Memorial in his big chair. I, however, was yelling, "No, no, no, slow it down, Phil! Hey Phil, call a timeout!"
The Lakers seem to be confused on the concept. Going into the playoffs, the idea is to instill fear in your opponents, not your fans.
Another Clippers season comes to an end, a season of amazing Blake Griffin dunks, the coming of age of Eric Gordon, the emergence of DeAndre Jordan, and the flashy advent of Mo Williams. A year that guaranteed that no one will ever look at a Kia Optima the same.
And the result of all those milestones? The Clippers finish 32-50 — three games better than the 29-53 during their 2009-10 season. Assuming that rate of improvement, it should be just eight years until the Clippers vie for best NBA record. Of course, at that point Blake Griffin will have begun contemplating retirement and folks are likely to have long been celebrating the world championships of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Anaheim Royals.
A sea of blue
The violence that has engulfed Dodger Stadium in recent years says a hell of a lot more about us who attend games more than it does about Frank McCourt. McCourt is McCourt. But us? It's like we lose civility, religion, morals, responsibility and everything else we stand for as soon as we cross the turnstiles.
We turn a blind eye to the idiots harassing innocent women and abusing other men. We sit at our seats allowing the jerks behind us to hurl expletives while our sons and daughters sit next to us afraid to confront them or complain to an usher. We have allowed the dog to run wild.
If you feel it's your First Amendment right to drop F-bombs regardless of any children or seniors sitting around you at Dodger Stadium, then you're part of the problem.
If you are someone who thinks it's fun to hit a beach ball in the stands, especially keeping it away from security, then you're part of the problem.
If you yuk it up when the kiss-cam shows a couple on DodgerVision, egging them on to French kiss for all to see, then you're part of the problem.
If you boo when security takes away an unruly fan, then you're part of the problem.
I am puzzled. As a homeowner I carry $500K in liability insurance on my property. Yesterday in The Times, there was an ad that said " Los Angeles Times proudly joins the Los Angeles Dodgers ... in supporting the Bryan Stow Family — Support the Bryan Stow Fund."
Today, TV newscasts show cash being collected at Dodger Stadium. Stow was beaten on Dodger property. The Dodgers and their insurance company should pay every penny of Stow's expenses and lost income the way my insurance company would if an accident happened on my property and I was at fault. Why is the public being asked to bail out the poor, poor Dodgers and their poor, poor insurance company?
I am so relieved that Frank McCourt is finally going to have his security staff crack down at Dodger Stadium. They will be looking much closer to make sure no one carries in any dangerous sandwiches, peanuts, water or other contraband that may cause serious injury to McCourt's pocketbook.
In 16 paragraphs Chris Erskine described all of the things he believes are problems at Dodger Stadium — bad language, drunkenness, thuggery, and even, perplexingly, good-looking women. Yet not once in his column did Erskine mention the Dodgers' real problem, the one that has plagued the team and its fans since 2004 — Frank McCourt.
Chris, think of us as the crew of the Bounty. The mutineers didn't give up on the ship, they gave up on Captain Bligh.
The Dodgers-Giants rivalry has nothing on USC-Notre Dame football. I've attended the last five games at South Bend totally decked out in my Trojan gear and I've almost been disappointed at how the Midwesterners kill you with kindness, hospitality, and good-natured trash-talking.
Class is where you find it; I wouldn't waste my time looking for it at Dodger Stadium.
Jack Von Bulow
Last week I went to both Ducks games against the Kings wearing my L.A. jersey and last night I attended the Sharks game, also sporting my Kings colors. Not only were there no problems — other than the Kings blowing all three games — but the opposing fans could not have been any more pleasant. How ironic that while baseball fans are increasingly more violent, hockey fans are becoming more laid back.
A note to Bill Plaschke. Augusta is won on Sunday not Saturday. Just ask your boy, McIlroy.
Rodney K. Boswell
When Tiger Woods fell from grace, I predicted that he would fall from first place as well. Now, after judging him for close to a year and a half, I now find myself rooting for him. Tiger may not have won the Masters, but he has won his fans back. And my latest prediction: Watch out, Tiger's back. Sometime during the next 12 months, Tiger is going to win a Grand Slam event.
Howard J. Kern
If the honorable and exemplary behavior of 21-year-old Rory McIlroy is any indication of the next generation of golfers, the sport is in good hands. After completing a horrendous final round of 80 at the Masters, having lost complete control of his game, McIlroy regained complete control of himself afterward. He addressed his failure and disappointment with professionalism in post-match interviews. The maturity and substance of this young man are exemplified with his words, "You have to lose before you can win. This day will make me stronger in the end."
Look. All of this stuff about how gracious and self-effacing Rory was in the news conferences following a near-historic fourth-round melt down shouldn't come as a shock. I mean, how much of a blowhard was he going to be?
By contrast, when he was asked about Tiger Woods' play during the past 15 months, Rory has repeatedly and ungraciously implied that Woods is a has-been who will never dominate courses and tournaments the way he once did —and that no one is afraid of him anymore. Now both of those remarks may be true. But coming from a player who, while obviously talented, hasn't done a thing yet — other than show a penchant for disappearing in big contests that he's very much in position to win (see last year's 80 at the Open following a round of 63) — his so-called candor comes across as brashness on the thread's edge of arrogance.
After watching the Masters, I have to say it is the most enjoyable major tournament of the year. Not only for the beauty of Augusta, competitors from all over the world, but also for the limited commercials. The PGA Tour should take notice and limit commercials for the other major tournaments and give us more of what makes the Masters so special … golf. What do they think, we won't watch?
Out of Pauley
USC officials are laughing so hard they can hardly breathe in making the historic Sports Arena available for UCLA "home" basketball games next year.
I'm sure Dan Guerrero will look back at this decision and wonder, "What was I thinking?" Attendance at Pauley has been declining of late with home losses to the likes if Montana, and now this.
I wouldn't be surprised if more UCLA players put their names into the NBA draft this year.
The news of Homer Smith's passing hit hard with those of us who were fortunate enough to play for him. On the field or in the classroom, I have never been in the presence of a more gifted teacher. It is not a stretch to say that UCLA has lost one of its greatest professors.
We live in a sports world of spoiled, overpaid, arrogant athletes who feel they are above the world. How nice it is to hear that there's still athletes like Teemu Selanne who play for the love and fun of the game, and more importantly, maintain a sense of humility. Teemu is definitely a positive role model to both athlete and fan.
It must be challenging for The Times now that both the Ducks and Kings are in the NHL playoffs together for the first time. Doubling your hockey staff cannot be easy in this difficult economic time. Good thing for you it only means going from one reporter to two.
Rancho Palos Verdes
Kudos are due Ducks General Manager Bob Murray, who was able to get his team surging into the playoffs by having the foresight to acquire replacements to compensate when injuries struck star forward Ryan Getzlaf and top goalie Jonas Hiller during the season.
On the other hand, the Kings limped into the postseason when there was no one to pick up the offensive slack for injured star forwards Justin Williams and Anze Kopitar. GM Dean Lombardi could only offer up Dustin Penner and Alexei Ponikarovsky, who have brought nothing to the lineup other than complacency.
Hair today …
I'm betting that Manny's really bald from steroid use and that the dreadlocks are a wig. At least I hope that's the case.
Barry Bonds gets convicted of obstructing justice and he leaves the court smiling and flashing the victory sign. We do live in a great country.
The Los Angeles Times welcomes expressions of all views. Letters should be brief and become the property of The Times. They may be edited and republished in any format. Each must include a valid mailing address and telephone number. Pseudonyms will not be used.
Mail: Sports Viewpoint
Los Angeles Times
202 W. 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Fax: (213) 237-4322