Gayle King of “CBS Good Morning” and Lisa Leslie’s recent interview on the late Kobe Bryant has been an emotion-evoking topic most recently as many felt King should not have asked the former WNBA star if Kobe’s sexual assault case “complicates” his legacy. Thereafter, King received misogynistic threats from Snoop Dogg and many others. A Black journalist named Erica Cobb of the “Daily Blast Live” has explained that emotions run rampant when discussing Kobe’s prior rape allegations because there is deeply rooted historical context that should be discussed in tandem with the case.
“I’m not gonna say who’s to blame, but I do think that we’re trying to make a very uncomfortable conversation complicated,” Cobb explained. “I think we’re doing that because clearly there is a lot of emotion and a lot of hurt involved. In order to really have a conversation about why this has been such a big story if we have to talk about what was happening in 2003 when Kobe was first accused of rape – there were two different Americas.”
Cobb continued, “We had white households whose parents were telling their White daughters to beware of Kobe’s in the wake of O.J. Simpson. We had Black households who were telling their kids about the story of Emmett Till – the 14-year-old Black boy who was killed in Mississippi for allegedly whistling at a woman in 1955 and we later learned that wasn’t the truth.”
The journalist explained that because of these two polar opposite perspectives on race and sexual assault when race is involved, some people see Kobe as “a Black man who got away raping a White woman. Some of us see a Black man who was accused of raping a White woman and did something that was historically daunting” by surpassing his allegations and becoming a legendary and inspiring NBA player.
Cobb noted that some people might have viewed Kobe’s apology as “an admission of guilt,” adding that “some of us see his apology as fighting for his life. And we think about Emmett Till and how many times he apologized for something he didn’t do in order to fight for his life.”
She went on to point out the lack of diversity within the media around the time of Kobe’s case, which prohibited the narrative of his side of the story from even existing. “When we’re having these conversations in mainstream media, especially as a Black woman in media, we have to be so careful because this narrative has already been out there in a way that mainstream media was never about because there was zero representation in 2003 to even have a thought of what the Kobe side could have been,” the journalist said.
Cobb also explained that the historical context is being omitted from the conversation surrounding Kobe’s allegations. “And now we’re here and we’re having these conversations and we can’t have these conversations with even a hint of not having historical context in them because it is just that painful,” she continued. “And that’s the reason why no one wants to hear from any Black woman, Black man, and mainstream media that isn’t speaking love, and peace, and honor on Kobe Bryant’s name less than two weeks after his death.”
Cobb added, “That’s the reason there’s so much backlash and until we have that conversation, we’re not having a conversation at all because we have to decide if we wanna have a comfortable conversation or a complex conversation and the story is just uncomfortable, it is not complex.”
Oprah addressed the social media attacks her best friend, Gayle King, has been receiving following her interview with Lisa Leslie revealing that she has also gotten death threats. She appeared on “TODAY with Hoda & Jenna” on Friday and said that King was “not doing well.” Oprah continued, “She’s not doing well because she has now threats and has to now travel with security, and she’s feeling very much attacked.”
Winfrey later said, “I think anybody can criticize anything, but the misogynist vitriol and the attacking to the point where it is dangerous to be in the streets alone—because it’s not just the people who are attacking, it’s the other people who take that message and feel like they can do whatever they want to because of it.”