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April 12, 2011

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Bryant Statement Not Nearly Enough Full Apology Required

HRC Calls on Lakers Organization to Weigh in on Bryant Homophobic Slur

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, called on the Lakers organization to condemn the homophobic slur made by made by Kobe Bryant after the Lakers superstar failed to apologize for his outburst. Last night in a game against the San Antonio Spurs, Bryant lashed out at the referee, calling him a "f***ing f***ot" after receiving a technical foul.

This morning, HRC condemned the slur: "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."

While Bryant issued a statement acknowledging the slur, he failed to apologize: "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."

HRC called on the Lakers organization to weigh in on the slur, given both the prominence of Bryant and the influence he wields on and off the court.

"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," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "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."

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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