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Lakers, NBA to work with GLAAD to address anti-gay slurs in basketball

LOS ANGELES – Days after basketball superstar Kobe Bryant was caught during a telecast yelling an anti-gay slur at a referee, the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA have agreed to work with GLAAD to educate fans about the harms of hurtful language.

The Lakers joined GLAAD in issuing a release regarding Kobe Bryant’s use of the anti-gay slur “f*ggot” during a game this week and committing to address homophobic remarks in the sport.

"What happened in Tuesday night's game is not representative of what the Lakers stand for," Lakers spokesman John Black said.

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

GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios seized the moment.

"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. We also suggested and will continue to advocate for zero tolerance policies for anti-gay slurs at home games, similar to what the New York Yankees adopted last year.”

In addition to the Lakers, NBA executives have agreed to meet with GLAAD to discuss ways to send a message about the power of such words to the league’s audience, many of whom are young people, parents or educators.

Recently, GLAAD worked with the New York Yankees and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) to address issues of homophobia in sports. After working with GLAAD, the New York Yankees adopted a new policy that strictly prohibits anti-gay slurs in Yankee Stadium.

For more information about GLAAD's work with the WWE, visit HERE.

For more information about GLAAD's work with the New York Yankees, visit HERE.