Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant may be relatively new to Twitter, but he’s already making waves with his social-media experience.
On Sunday evening, Bryant replied to an NBA fan who tweeted “you’re gay” in response to another fan’s joke directed at Bryant.
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
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) February 11, 2013
In doing so, he sent a message to his 1 million-plus Twitter followers: It’s not acceptable to use homophobic slurs as insults. For school-aged children, hearing an icon like Bryant take a stand against such language may make them think twice before reverting to those types of insults in the future.
Bryant’s tweet has been retweeted more than 4,000 times since Sunday night.
Ten minutes after Bryant sent his reprimand, the user replied, “sorry man.”
One of Bryant’s followers was quick to remind him that he, too, had fallen into the trap of using a homophobic slur as an insult in the past. Back in April 2011, Bryant was fined $100,000 for using a gay slur directed at a referee that was picked up on national television.
Bryant acknowledged his apparent hypocrisy by saying, “That wasn’t cool and was ignorant on my part. I own it and learn from it and expect the same from others.”
He told ESPN.com’s J.A. Adande on Tuesday, “A lot of times, especially as celebs, people want to put you in a box because this is what you were at the start. You evolve. You change as people.”
Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com shared more of Bryant’s conversation with Adande today.
“It’s a pretty simple one for me,” Bryant said. “You learn from your f-ups and you try not to make them again. It’s really that simple. ... You have an opportunity—especially on Twitter, you have that kind of platform and so forth, I think it’s important to do so.”
After all, in a way, isn’t that what school is all about? Ask David Ginsburg, who writes the “Coach G’s Teaching Tips” blog for
A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.