California — The NBA has fined Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant $100,000 for a homophobic slur that commissioner David Stern called “offensive and inexcusable.”
After receiving a technical foul during Tuesday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs, Bryant stormed to the bench threw a towel and yelled, “Bennie!” toward referee Bernie Adams. Bryant then leaned back and muttered a gay slur.
The episode was caught on camera on TNT’s national telecast.
Bryant issued a statement Wednesday afternoon.
“What I said last night should not be taken literally,” he said. “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.”
Stern strongly condemned Bryant’s words in a statement.
“While I’m fully aware that basketball is an emotional game, such a distasteful term should never be tolerated,” he said. “Accordingly, I have fined Kobe $100,000. 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.”