F*$# Being Offended by Kobe
Didgya hear about Kobe (Bryant) mouthing off to a ref the other night?
I guess he got pissed and called the ref a “fag!”
A fag? What? I seriously doubt his intent was to compare the ref to a cigarette (yes, that’s an old definition). But clearly, this was not a moment of higher thinking.
Personally, I don’t much care what he calls he refs. It’s a game and he’s playing. I’m not. But what got me to thinking was the amount of commentary I’ve heard about—especially the seeming millions of people who claim to be offended by his words.
Why be offended by what Kobe, or any athlete, says in the heat of a game?
For that matter, why be offended at all?
The more I thought about this the more clear it seems that to be offended—to take offense—is a choice. A choice that can be harder to recognize when it’s someone close to you who’s directly calling you a bad-name. Still, it is no less a choice.
It’s the safe distance between Kobe and the offended parties that makes this an opportunity to create step into the space between the action (Kobe’s mouth moving) and the reaction (being offended).
Let’s break this down—get simple stupid here.
Kobe mouthed the word “Fag” at a ref after he made a call.
That’s the simple facts. That’s what he did. And that could be the end of it. We could state the facts. Like I opened my hands and the keys dropped to the floor.
You follow me here? Just the simple what happened.
Now, for the interesting part. The part that gets us all twisted up with stuff and burning cycles of energy and time.
The Meaning You Gave it:
Let’s say, I was one of the offended ones. Not being gay, it’s not a personal thing so let’s say his reckless display of disrespect towards those with a specific sexual preference angered me.
Now, do you get that this is the meaning I or you gave it. He didn’t do this, it’s meaning we, individually or collectively, assigned to his actions. Slow down here..Take it in.
It may seem like a subtle difference but it’s not.
I can hear the arguments now. “But that’s what he did!” “That’s so clearly what he meant.”
Okay, let’s pretend that for some odd reason, while pissed in the heat of the game, Kobe had premeditated to slander this specific group of people with this slur.
I know, hell of an imagination and stretch but we’re just pretending.
So, that’s what he “was doing.” How does you being angry about it help? How does it help the group he’s supposedly attacked, the sport, the team or you?
Who benefits from your anger?
As with most anger, most often no one. If you’re really concerned about the feelings and impact on the gay community, perhaps the better, more productive use of energy would be to send some positive energy out, be supportive in some way. Anything positive is worth a hell of a lot more than being angry at Kobe.
But let’s run with this “who benefits from the anger?” thread for a moment longer.
If there was any benefit to be gained by you being angry at Kobe, who might that be?
Try this one. Maybe it’s you—as in the person who’s angry.
How? Perhaps there’s a bit of ego at play here. Kobe does something we can all righteously agree is “bad” and we get to put on the righteous cowboy hats and point fingers at him, while shouting, “bad, bad, bad…man.”
And you know what? Weird as it sounds and hard as it is to admit to even ourselves, it feels a little bit good. Doesn’t it?
I mean here’s the famous, big shot, rich man with a bit of an attitude and a tinted grey background and then here’s us, working our asses off every day, trying to get by for a fraction of what he gets in wealth, fame and freedom for playing a game.
And now, if only for a moment I get to point my righteous finger and say, “bad, bad, bad man…” And I get to be “right” and people agree.
Well, that’s a good thing for I’m a good person and he’s a bad person. And the world can see my goodness in contrast. And you know, I may not make millions of dollars every day but I’m better than Kobe today! I have one on him and I’m going to kick back, sip my Bud and revel in this moment of conquest.
Do you think that some version of this may be ever so slightly true for some of the people waving the finger of judgment at Kobe. Could it be that being offended was a choice that worked in their favor?
Of course then, as I’m always willing to admit, I may be completely wrong. And Kobe may be a very, very bad man who did a bad, bad thing with bad intent.
It doesn’t matter what I say for ultimately how you see it is your choice. Or is it?
About Kobe and I
I think it’s worthy of note that I’m about the furthest from being a Kobe fan as you’ll find. I respect his game but as a Denver fan, I tire of the style and drama. I loved Jordan and think Kobe is as close as we’ve come to the MJ but the style of competition is different. MJ struck me as more passionate in a positive way.
I wanted to share this such that one doesn’t think this is some fan point of view.