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Kobe Bryant Reprimands Twitter Follower for Anti-Gay Tweet

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Wednesday Feb 13, 2013
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Almost two years after Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 by the NBA for using a gay slur during a nationally televised game, the Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard is now calling out Twitter fans for the same offense, ESPN reports.

On Tuesday, it was reported that Bryant singled out one of his fans on the social media website for calling another fan "gay."

"Just letting you know@PacSmoove @pookeo9 that using "your gay" as a way to put someone down ain’t ok! #notcool delete that out ur vocab," the basketball star wrote on Sunday.

But Bryant found himself on the other side of the fence in April 2011 when he was facing off against the San Antonio Spurs. The athlete was upset for receiving a technical foul and hurled an anti-gay slur towards referee Bennie Adams. The incident was broadcast during TNT’s national telecast of the game and NBA commissioner David Stern called the incident "offensive an inexcusable."

The next day, however, Bryant apologized and said he didn’t mean to offend anyone.

After the NBA All-Star made his recent tweet, fans made sure to remind him of his own mistake.

"exactly! That wasn’t cool and was ignorant on my part. I own it and learn from it and expect the same from others," he wrote.

Bryant was in the media spotlight in the summer of 2003 when he was arrested for sexual assault after Katelyn Faber, then 19, filed a complaint against the NBA player. She accused Bryant of raping her in his hotel room the night before he was scheduled to have knee surgery. He admitted to having relations with her but denied rape.

Bryant may be trying get back into the public’s good graces by standing up for the gay community as his reputation was tarnished after the incident involving Faber. A number of his sponsors, including McDonald’s, dropped him and sales for his replica jersey drastically fell.

In related basketball/LGBT news, Denver Nuggets star Kenneth Faried has become the NBA’s first player to join an organization aimed to fight homophobia in sports, New York Daily News reports.

Faried, 23, joined Athlete Ally, which promotes equal rights for the LGBT community in sports. The athlete said he hopes he can help raise awareness of gay rights in the NBA and in others sports.

"I have two moms and I love them both very much. I respect, honor and support them in every way," he said in a statement. "The bond I have with them has made me realize that I want all members of the LGBT community -- whether they are parents, players, coaches or fans -- to feel welcome in the NBA and in all of our communities."

Last month, it was reported that Faried, nicknamed the "manimal" on the court, appeared in a video for OneColorado, an LGBT rights group, and announced that he supports same-sex marriage and has two mothers.

"I support civil union, because it gives people, gays and lesbians, the right to make decisions on their own if they want to get married and let them choose who they want to be with," he said. "Nobody can ever tell me I can’t have two mothers, because I really do."

Officials from the NBA applauded Faried for joining the organization and being an ally to the community.

"We are proud to work with Athlete Ally and thank Kenneth for his leadership on this issue," Kathy Behrens, an NBA executive vice president who focuses on social responsibility and player programs, said. "His support on this issue is a welcome step in the NBA’s ongoing efforts to raise awareness about and end homophobia in sports,"

Faried, who is a forward for the Nuggets, isn’t the only athlete to be a strong LGBT rights supporter. The NFL’s Brendon Ayanbadejo of the Baltimore Ravens, Chris Kluew of the Minnesota Vikings, Scott Fujita of the Cleveland Browns and Connor Barwin of the Houston Texans are all members of Athlete Ally.

"In the last month, we have seen seven professional athletes around the world align with Athlete Ally," Hudson Taylor, executive director of Athlete Ally and a wrestling coach at Columbia University, said. "Kenneth is standing out not only as an incredible talent, but as an incredible ally. We are thrilled to have him on board and grateful to the NBA for its continued leadership."

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