[UPDATED with Kobe's Appeal of Fine:] Bryant Scolded for Yelling "Fucking Faggot" at Ref

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​UPDATE, APRIL 14, 8:01 P.M: After last night's likely forever finale for the Sacramento Kings/preview for the Anaheim Royals, Kobe Bryant was contrite. Black Mamba told KCAL/Channel 9's John Ireland that the NBA's $100,000 fine for calling a referee "Fucking faggot" the night before was not important. What was important, Black Mamba said, was his reiterating that bullying "is not cool."

Some may have assumed Bryant dismissed the importance of the fine because apologizing was foremost on his mind. But he could have dismissed it because that's what he has asked the NBA to do.

Lost amid yesterday's apology demands, unapologetic apologies, renewed apology demands and, finally, the pre-game real apology was the fact that Bryant has appealed the fine.

That's odd. For one, $100k is nothing to Kobe. The Newport Coaster probably burns that much in fuel for his helicopter ride from John Wayne Airport to the Staples Center. If he really wants to put the incident behind him so he can concentrate on more important matters (like the New Orleans Hornets), why not just shut your mouth and pay the fine?

UPDATE, APRIL 13, 6:40 P.M: The same-sex civil rights group the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which earlier condemned Kobe Bryant's "Fucking faggot" crack, announced this evening that the Lakers superstar apologized to HRC president Joe Solmonese in a pre-game phone call.

"I applaud Kobe Bryant for his swift apology," Solmonese says in an HRC statement. "We had a very sincere conversation in which he expressed his heartfelt regret for the hurt that his words caused."

Solmonese continued, "He told me that it's never okay to degrade or tease, and that he understands how his words could unfortunately give the wrong impression that this is appropriate conduct. At the end of a difficult day, I applaud Kobe for coming forward and taking responsibility for his actions."

Now go win that last game, Kobe.

UPDATE, APRIL 13, 3:20 P.M: The same-sex civil rights group the Human Rights Campaign, which earlier condemned Kobe Bryant's "Fucking faggot" crack at referee Bennie Adams, dished out both praise and criticism this afternoon.

The praise was for NBA Commissioner David Stern's rebuke of and $100,000 fine against the Lakers captain, and the criticism was for Bryant's statement reacting to the controversy. In order of issuance, after Bryant's original statement (below), the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Joe Solmonese rebounded with this:

For better or worse, Kobe Bryant has created a teachable moment for the millions of fans-many of them young-who saw that outburst on the floor. And the right thing to do now is to apologize and take responsibility for suggesting that the worst thing you can do to someone is to scream out a gay slur.  This kind of homophobic outburst has dangerous consequences, even more so when it comes from a celebrity in the national spotlight.

Stern released the following:

Kobe Bryant's comment during last night's game was offensive and inexcusable. While I'm fully aware that basketball is an emotional game, such a distasteful term should never be tolerated. Accordingly, I have fined Kobe $100k. Kobe and everyone associated with the NBA know that insensitive or derogatory comments are not acceptable and have no place in our game or society.

That brought this from Solmonese:

We applaud Commissioner Stern and the NBA for not only fining Bryant but for recognizing that slurs and derogatory comments have no place on the basketball court or in society at large. We hope such swift and decisive action will send a strong and universal message that this kind of hateful outburst is simply inexcusable no matter what the context. 

The ball now seems to be back in Kobe's court. A silver lining would be to donate the money to a group like The Center Orange County.

Too bad Chickie's not here to slap the mustard off the Hot Dog.

​UPDATE, APRIL 13, 1:24 P.M: "M-V-P, M-V-P" Kobe Bryant has issued a statement in the wake of criticism alley-ooped his way over his "Fucking faggot" remark directed at referee Bennie Adams after "Black Mamba" earned his 15th technical foul of the season last night.

(This also confirms the ref working the Lakers-Spurs game was not Phil Fraggit.)

What I said last night should not be taken literally. My actions were out of frustration during the heat of the game, period. The words expressed do NOT reflect my feelings towards the gay and lesbian communities and were NOT meant to offend anyone.

Except Adams, of course.

ORIGINAL POST, APRIL 13, 11:10 A.M.: Oh, great, just what our Lakers need on top of Andrew Bynum limping into the playoffs: a dust up over hate speech that spilled out of the mouth of Newport Coast superstar Kobe Bryant.

After being T'd up last night, the "Black Mamba" was captured by TNT cameras yelling "Fucking faggot" at the ref.

Has TMZ posted video of the slur that is no doubt headed for viraldom?

Does Lindsay Lohan have sticky fingers?

Here are links to the video and a follow-up claiming the NBA is investigating the matter.

And here is what the Human Rights Campaign, "the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization," has to say about the whole thing:

What a disgrace for Kobe Bryant to use such horribly offensive and distasteful language, especially when millions of people are watching. Hopefully Mr. Bryant will recognize that as a person with such fame and influence, the use of such language not only offends millions of LGBT people around the world, but also perpetuates a culture of discrimination and hate that all of us, most notably Mr. Bryant, should be working to eradicate. Bryant and the Lakers have a responsibility to speak up on this issue immediately. America is watching.
Actually, this is the fault of the Lakers bench. If they'd contribute more, the starters would not be in situations where they get technical fouls. No, it's Phil Jackson's fault for playing the starters (hello, Bynum's knees are made of Jell-O) this late in the season. No, it's TNT commentator Steve Kerr's fault for drawing attention to Kobe's slur and warning the audience, "You might wanna take the cameras off of him right now, for the children watching."

However, it IS Kobe's fault if the Lakers do not win the title or the Anaheim Royals move into the Honda Center, whichever comes first.

By the way, did anyone check to see if one of the refs working last night's Lakers-Spurs game was Phil Fraggit?

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