6’10” John Amaechi played in the NBA for 8 seasons (1995-2003) and came out after his career becoming the NBA’s first openly gay player. He wrote a book called Man In the Middle about being a gay professional athlete. He sat down with USA Today recently to discuss Kobe’s Bryant’s “F*cking F*ggot” slur directed towards a ref and the $100,000 that the NBA fined him for the poor judgement. It also begs the question: Should Kevin Garnett owe the NBA 100,000 dollars?
From the interview:
Q: What was your first impression when you heard Bryant’s remark?
A: I’m surprised that people are surprised. This is common language when I played. It was an everyday word that I heard. I haven’t seen anything new put in place (by the NBA) to tackle homophobia. There’s no reason for it to somehow get better.
Q: And what do you think of Bryant’s statement of “apology”?
A: I suppose that’s the typical, “I apologize if you’re offended”‘ type of comment. I doubt very much when he said that that he thought Bennie was a pile of sticks. There’s only one contemporary meaning for that.
The problem we have now is because of the way we don’t address homophobia, the ultimate insult to a man is to tell them either they’re like a woman or worse, that they’re gay.
We have to take it as unacceptable as a white person screaming the N-word at a black person. … I can tell you that I’ve been called a f——- fairly routinely, and yet people seem to hold off on calling me the N-word. We’ve got to mirror that progress.
Read the whole interview at USA Today.