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LA Lakers to work with gay rights group after Kobe Bryant incident

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, April 15, 2011 19:04 EDT
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LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) are planning to work together to eliminate the use of anti-gay language in basketball.

“We want to reaffirm our commitment to all our fans and our appreciation for the support we receive from all segments of society,” Lakers spokesman John Black said. “We also understand the importance of positive messages in helping us convey this.

“We appreciate the input we’ve received from GLAAD the past two days, and will look forward to working with them on ways to help educate ourselves and our fans, and to help keep language like this out of our game.”

The NBA team and the gay-rights group announced the partnership Friday, three days after Lakers star Kobe Bryant, frustrated by an official’s call, was caught by television cameras mouthing “faggot”.

Bryant, who was fined $100,000 by the NBA, has since apologized.

GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios said his organization will advocate zero-tolerance policies for anti-gay slurs at sports events.

Such a policy has been adopted by the New York Yankees at the new Yankee Stadium.

“In light of this slur, there is a real opportunity to build support for our community and educate fans of Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the NBA about the use of such words,” Barrios said.

“The Los Angeles Lakers have taken a positive step, and we look forward to working with them to create messages from players and coaches that combat bullying.”

Bryant is a former NBA Most Valuable Player, a 13-time All-Star, the leading scorer in Lakers club history and is sixth on the NBA’s career scoring list.

He earned MVP honors in last season’s NBA finals as he led the Lakers to a second straight title.

The Lakers are scheduled to launch their playoff campaign on Sunday against the New Orleans Hornets..

Copyright © 2011 AFP. All rights reserved.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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