Social Question

jca's avatar

What do you think would be an appropriate fine for a basketball player who calls a referee "Faggot?"?

Asked by jca (35976points) April 14th, 2011

On the radio this morning, they were discussing Kobe Bryant getting a $100,000 fine for calling a referee “Faggot.” They said that it can be seen as equivalent to the “n” word.

Do you think the $100,000 fine was appropriate or should it have been more or less? Or if not a monetary fine, should it have been something else?

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62 Answers

KateTheGreat's avatar

If someone’s making that much money to play ball, then it’s a perfectly reasonable fine for insulting someone.

iamthemob's avatar

Off the top of my head, I think it’s totally appropriate. I’m fairly certain the fine would have been around that amount had Bryant cussed out the referee in some other manner. The sports leagues in general seem to come down hard on you if you don’t control your mouth.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Well he may have been calling the ref a british meat ball made from ofal.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Yes, fine him. He’d be the first one to shriek if someone used the N word on him in a similar manner.

I know in the heat of the moment it’s hard to be civil, but really, come on.

Seelix's avatar

I think it’s fine. I’m not sure what the usual fines are in basketball, but he should be fined for sure.

I’d also suspend him for a few games.

wundayatta's avatar

He should have been suspended for two games with no pay.

YoBob's avatar

No, I think anything less than suspension is inappropriate.

Kobe Bryant is being paid millions of dollars to play basketball. I would think that the level of compensation he enjoys at a bear minimum carries with it the expectation of professional conduct on the court. I believe that such unsportsman like conduct should not be tolerated.

math_nerd's avatar

I don’t think he should be fined. But I do wonder how this will affect the officiating in the future. I bet someone is going the be charged with a lot more fouls in the future.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Last year, Kobe Bryant signed a 3-year contract worth approximately $87 million. I suspect that $100K doesn’t seem like all that much to him. How about suspension without pay?

math_nerd's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer :: I’m pretty sure doing that would somehow be equated to Socialism by Fox News.

gailcalled's avatar

Given the epithet, he could be burned at the stake, or at least singed for a few minutes.

wundayatta's avatar

If millionaire or billionaire collusion is socialism, then what the hell is capitalism?

tedd's avatar

I do not see the word faggot as equivalent to the word nigger (mods please excuse the swearing).

IMO faggot does not even mean homosexual. I use it as a simple insult, and not to imply that someone is gay… which in fact isn’t even its original meaning, and still isn’t in the rest of the English speaking world.

If you can be fined for calling a ref an asshole, then he should get a fine equal to that.

gailcalled's avatar


Capitalism = few people wearing all the hats.

buster's avatar

How many other basketball players have been fined or suspended this season for saying something insulting? I know shit talking goes all on all the time in sports. I’m just curious who else has been punished and what the punishment was for something insulting said during a NBA game this season or in the last few seasons.

Mikewlf337's avatar

I don’t care. The things that are said by people who are not in the public eye are a thousand times worse. People usually are not referring to someones sexuality when they call someone a faggot.

Randy's avatar

Do you really think Kobe gives a shit about $100,000? He makes somewhere around 25 million a year. 25 MILLION! It was probably worth it to him.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@tedd @Mikewlf337 I don’t know what ‘rest of the English world’ you live in but here in NY, faggot is an epithet thrown around by men at men (for the most part) because to accuse a straight guy of being gay is, apparently to some idiots, an insult. So it’s nice that you just mean asshole but to the rest of the logical world, it means ‘asshole because I am so smart and implied you’re gay which is like unholy and jesus christ I’m antsy about shit going up my ass!’

aprilsimnel's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir – ‘And you’re just like a girl, too!’’

zenvelo's avatar

Instead of a fine I think he should do community service in an AIDS clinic.

WasCy's avatar

Forget the money. To a guy with a contract like that, $100 K means very little.

Instead, suspend him until he completes the following agenda:
– require that he attend and successfully complete a sensitivity training seminar

- write a public apology to the referee, to be checked over by a group of high school English teachers and sent back for correction and amendment until it passes muster

- anger management course completion

jca's avatar

I think a public apology in addition to a million dollar fine might make him think twice next time, but a million dollar fine would probably never fly. I think it would be nice for the ref to get some kind of contrite apology from Kobe that the whole world could witness.

tedd's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir That’s funny, cuz in England and Australia, and most of the other colonies it means cigarette.

And when my gay friends call me fag, they’re usually just insulting me.

And when I get cut off on the highway and yell FAG at the top of my lungs at the guy/girl/person who did it…. I’m not thinking “Oh, that person must be a homosexual” ... I’m thinking….. “God what a fag asshole, who cuts someone off like that???”

It means a bundle of sticks, and its original intended insult audience was older women, who were seen as “baggage.”

Just because you find the word offensive, doesn’t mean anyone else cares or thinks it is.

Seelix's avatar

It saddens me that “fag” or “gay” are used as insults. “I didn’t mean homosexual, I meant asshole” isn’t an excuse, in my mind. They’re offensive terms, maybe not to some people, but to other people, and shouldn’t be used in that sense.

I might not think “nigger” is offensive, personally, but that doesn’t mean I’m allowed to say it.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@tedd “And when my gay friends call me fag, they’re usually just insulting me” – that’s your reality and that’s fine if you think that’s fine. But we in the queer community are acutely aware that when you call someone a fag, you’re not talking about cigarettes. If you are, that’s dumb.

iamthemob's avatar

@tedd – You’re correct that, culturally, there are differences in meaning for what and what is not considered a slur of some sort.

But knowing that doesn’t support an argument that due to that fact, or due to a different original intent, the word is neutral. All words are arguably neutral, but they gain both denotations and connotations through use in context. Therefore, it’s excusable for someone to use one word or another without realizing the implications of it, but once they do know, they know the potential effect it could have on someone hearing it.

None of us have access to the objective intent of someone upon hearing them say a particular word. Anyone speaking should know that what’s being said could be interpreted various ways. And if you know that a word is a homophobic slur, it’s not the other person’s fault for thinking you’re a bigot for using it – it’s your own because you chose to disregard the potential harm the word could cause. (note – all of the “yous” here are meant to be general).

iamthemob's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir – I like you your responses are often “cut to the chase” versions of mine. ;-)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@iamthemob As you know, I have 100% less patience than you.

tedd's avatar

@Seelix Gay is not at all the same as fag. I would find that offensive to homosexuals when used in a derogatory manner. And I don’t need an excuse, because frankly a lot of people don’t consider the word fag to mean gay or homosexual. When I call someone a son of a bitch, do you think their mother takes offense or that they take offense on behalf of their mother? When I call someone a bitch, do they think I’m actually comparing them to a dog? Why don’t you go call someones cute baby a “little bugger” in England, and see how offended they get.

Nigger is offensive to black people because it was made for and intended as name for them. Gay is offensive to gay’s because its a name for gays that they applied to themselves and has been taken advantage of.

Fag on the other hand was already a derogatory term in use prior to being applied to homosexuals… It could have just as easily been the word asshole, or bitch, or anything.

@iamthemob And cultural differences is exactly what I’m getting at here. Back in the 50’s and up until somewhat recently, maybe thats what fag meant…. But quite frankly the meaning of the word is changing back to a regular insult…. especially when multiple gay friends of mine, here in Columbus Ohio (which btw has the second largest gay population in the US) call me fag on a regular basis.

And frankly, if someone wants to get offended by me saying the word fag…. Then that’s their problem and they should probably develop a thicker skin if that’s all it takes to offend them.

ucme's avatar

I’d advocate a forfeit more than a fine. Maybe he should be forced to wear a tutu for all future press conferences.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@tedd Ah yes, the oh so usual ‘develop a tougher skin, where’s your humor?’ defense – I wonder why I have to do that, do you plan on making more of yourself in this world?

tedd's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Way to not mention the entire post leading up to the part you want to question. You know Fox “news” does that…. are you Fox News Simone?

But yes quite frankly if all it takes to de-legitimize such a big life choice someone has made, is me saying a 3 letter word…. then frankly they have bigger issues to sort out than me.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@tedd I don’t think how you can make that assessment. It’s not that you say fag that drives anyone bonkers. We do have bigger fish to fry. But it’s your deliberate defense of this word usage despite you knowing how it might affect someone (and using your gay friends as excuses or tokens of what we all should be like…you got it, faggot) that baffles me. I am not offended, believe you me. This is not news to anyone, that there are people who care more about a word than about people.

tedd's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir My “defense” of the word is more in that you jumped out quickly to more or less attack myself and another poster for standing up and stating that we don’t even equate the word fag with homosexual…. and then going on to imply how we men must use it as an insult because… asshole because I am so smart and implied you’re gay which is like unholy and jesus christ I’m antsy about shit going up my ass! When quite frankly that’s not the case for many of us.

And I don’t need to use comments by gay friends as a token or to justify it. I have many gay friends, have had multiple gay room mates, will likely attend a gay wedding within the next few years (if they ever set a date), will have at least one gay man in my wedding party, and have no less than two gay men in my extended family…... I have been called fag by just about all of them, in jest. I know where I stand on the issue of homosexuality, and me using the word fag does not delegitimize it for me in any way shape or form.

Seelix's avatar

@tedd – “Fag on the other hand was already a derogatory term in use prior to being applied to homosexuals… It could have just as easily been the word asshole, or bitch, or anything.”

I’ve never seen the word “fag” used to refer to anything other than a cigarette or a gay man. If it was originally used as a derogatory term, I would imagine that was a long time ago.
“Gay” originally meant happy-go-lucky. I don’t see the difference.

It pisses people off, so people shouldn’t say it.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@tedd You’re right, my apologies. It clearly sounds that you’re the oppressed one here. I think you should start a movement on behalf of guys everywhere who must point out every gay person in their life who get called by them faggots as insults (in jest, in jest, my dear) but call others faggots as a totally different NEW insult, aka old insult used for old ladies. Much better.

tedd's avatar

@Seelix Fag started being applied to homosexuals in the 50’s. So unless you’re old enough to have been a mature enough age to see that application, then you probably wouldn’t know any other use. Gay did originally mean that, homosexuals though started using that as a name for themselves, and then biggots began using it as an insult like “well that’s gay!” The difference being Fag or Faggot didn’t mean that, and was applied externally.

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I never said I was oppressed, nor do I think I gave off any vibe of that. But frankly if you call me out on something and try to make me look like an ignorant person or a biggot… then I’m going to stand up and defend and explain myself. You’re welcome to continue your “High and mighty, quest for vengeance against anything people find offensive!!” But just looking at your profile and judging the type of person you must be from that and your posts, this is a lost cause as you clearly have an axe to grind with the status quo and male-ocracy, and I’m simply wasting my time.

So carry on sister, throw off your chains of oppression!

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@tedd When they used “fagot” to mean a bundle of sticks, it was normally a bundle of sticks used for kindling around the stake used to burn a witch or a heretic, and homosexuals were throne in with the kindling. The 1950s was not the start of that.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@tedd LOL, that’s swell. Did you pigeon hole me into ‘the man hating hair on legs feminazi lesbian’? ‘Cause that’s my favorite pigeon hole in that it’s farthest from the truth. Sure, standing up for what’s wrong is an axe to grind, make fun if you want, but I’ll wait for you to mature and join me up here with adults who live their lives according to a harm reduction model, that is, try to bring as little harm to others as possible.

The_Idler's avatar

A faggot to me is nothing more than a bundle of sticks or a meatball, I don’t know why it is a hate-word for non-hetero people in North America, but it is, and because of this, I would only consider saying it (or the word fag, meaning cig) to someone who isn’t possibly going to fit into that category.

I mean, I don’t think it’s acceptable to use it at all in North America, since it’s primary meaning is filled with hatred, and it can’t really be used as an insult in the UK nowadays, because the Americans have given it this other meaning that most people know about, and they may well assume you are intending to convey that meaning.

Either way, everything should be done to discourage the abuse of officials in sports. These players are professionals, and should behave as such.

I think it is dealt with very well in Rugby:
If you so much as complain about a penalty, the ref immediately moves it 5 metres forwards, and if you give him abuse, you can forget about playing another minute, as you’d be immediately sin-binned, and your manager would have you straight off, because being a dick to the ref is the stupidest thing you could possibly do on a Rugby pitch.

So, aside from the fact that any abuse of officials should be harshly punished, I think the fine in this case is completely justified, in light of the meaning of this word in that part of the world.

Anyone can complain about how much they don’t like the word being hijacked by hate-filled, narrow-minded bigots, and how we should be able to say it in its “true” meaning, but that doesn’t alter the significance of the real-world implications of its use…

The fact is, it’s a symbol of intolerance and hate now, and should be treated as such,
...what’s the point of denial here?

iamthemob's avatar


I understand where you’re coming from, but the problem with your argument is again that your intent means very little in the end and, as demonstrated here, you have to explain it far too much to make using the word a worthwhile thing.

The problem with the casual use of the word is that it is therefore used in situations where all people really hear is using the word faggot, without the context. And you can’t deny the implications of it. Where people hear the word used casually, and no one comments on it, it sends the message that it’s alright to use it casually. That ends up creating situations where it’s used more.

The problem with that is, unless you’ve walked down the street and been called a faggot where the intent was clearly to belittle you because of your sexual orientation, you don’t quite understand the feeling that it causes whenever it’s heard by someone who is gay. Even when, many times, it’s said in jest, and a gay man hearing that knows it, it stirs up those associated feelings. And don’t doubt that the vast majority of gay men have been called it directly to their face, maybe with the threat of violence or actual violence closely associated with that. And in the instances where they haven’t, they’ve surely seen someone called it with those same associations around them.

Therefore, you can mean whatever you want when you say it, but it’s naive for any of us to say “sticks and stones.” It’s one of those lessons that parents teach their kids to try to help them get through the harm caused by being belittled in some way, or worse, to be the victim of clear bigotry. However, we realize our parents tell us this as we grow up not believing it to be true, but knowing it to be false – it is often the words that cause the most harm, as opposed to physical harms.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Oh, hey guys, look at all these people who, too, must have a giant chip on their shoulder about the status quo.

iamthemob's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir – that was amazing – thanks for sharing.

Mikewlf337's avatar

I never meant it in a homophobic way. I look at the context rather than the word itself. It is too easy to offend people. I can be crude at times and I offend some of the more sensitive people. 99% of the time when I do hear that word. It isn’t used in a homophobic way. It is just a word. It is the context that matters.

filmfann's avatar

Kobe? You mean Kobe the rapist? He is still allowed to play basketball, and make gobs of money. No one punishes him, or reminds him of how to act in a civilized manner. Why should he show anyone any respect? He’s a superstar. He has been shown he can do what he wants.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Mikewlf337 Let me try to meet you in the middle (I forget why). Is there no other word for you to use that would also fit the context?
@filmfann Agreed.

tinyfaery's avatar

There is a lot, and I mean A LOT of “gay” money that goes to the support The Lakers. I hope the community will do the talking with there $ and no longer support The Lakers with Kobe. I won’t even watch a Laker game until he is gone. It’s been that way for years. I don’t root for rapists.

Mikewlf337's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I can’t gaurentee things like that. Most words people say are habitual words, like a person who cusses too much. I don’t think I use that word much at all anyways. There are many other words more fitting.

chocolatechip's avatar

FYI, “the” is an offensive word to certain groups of people and I would appreciate if you refrained fro using it.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@wundayatta I now see that we were on the same wavelength.
@math_nerd While you may have a point, I don’t take great stock in Fox News’ slanted views.
@buster I think I see where you are going with your questions about what other punishments have been doled out to other pro basketball players in a similar situation. After a minor perusal of internet sites, I haven’t found something as close to what Kobe Bryant has been fined with. If you are alluding to the fact that he should be treated to the same punishment that others in a similar experience have received, then I agree with you. The rules of conduct should be explained on the front end and delivered accordingly.
@WasCy Your suggestion of counseling, community service and a sincere apology is much better than requiring that he pay a fine. And from what I’ve read on the internet, the fines can be funded by the basketball league, as well as the individual’s team.
@The_Idler Thank you for sharing how situations, such as this, are dealt with in rugby and in the country you are referring to. It sounds fair for not only the punishment, but that it is laid out on the front end.

@tedd The responses provided do not hold up, in my opinion, particularly since you live in the US where ‘faggot’ can be considered a derogatory term. It’s one thing to use the term with people who know that you mean no ill will by it, and it’s another when it is used out of anger, as Kobe Bryant did. Ask your friends who are gay how they would feel if a stranger called them a ‘faggot’ and you might gain some insight on why this is such a sensitive subject, if only in the US.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@chocolatechip Why is it offensive to some people? If you’re gonna joke around, let’s.

The_Idler's avatar

@chocolatechip Mate… “get real”

There’s no good reason for the word “cunt” to be offensive, half the world spends their lives permanently attached to one, and most of the other half wishes they did. It’s just a body part.

Are you and the rest of these faggot-traditionalists the type of people to call their boss a cunt, and then complain about being fired by arguing, “It’s just a body part, why should it be offensive? would you be offended if I called you an earlobe or a shoulderblade!?”

No matter how perfect the principles of your argument, it is simply idiotic to try and apply it to the real world, because the real world just aint like that.

Everyone agrees that the words fag & faggot shouldn’t be extremely offensive to many people,
BUT THEY FUCKING WELL ARE and denial of that fact doesn’t do any good for anybody.

Mikewlf337's avatar

People insult people all the time. The funny thing is some think certain groups should be protected from that. What is the difference between insulting a religious person. a white person, or anyone else. There isn’t a difference. Unless people learn to respect one another then people will hear insults.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Mikewlf337 No. The some of us you mention feel all groups should be protected from insults based on their sexuality or perceived sexuality.

Mikewlf337's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Nobody can be protected from insults. People who want to insult people will insult people.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Mikewlf337 Fine. Then some of us will tell them they’re wrong.

Seelix's avatar

@Mikewlf337 – Of course nobody can be protected from insults. But why do insults have to be based on race, gender, sexuality, et cetera?

iamthemob's avatar

@Seelix – Indeed.

The problem with the argument that you present, @Mikewlf337, is that in much the same way, people cannot be protected from being fired. However, we hold them accountable legally if they are fired because of their race, religion, etc. The statement is not one about protecting people from harm, but one against discrimination based on unacceptable categorization.

The fine here was not because Bryant called someone a faggot, but because he cussed out a ref. People aren’t arrested on the street for calling someone a faggot either. They may be held accountable in school for it, in the same way that they would be for calling someone a nigger, or a spic, etc. – and, to a lesser extent, cussing someone out generally.

We are not protecting individuals through these policies, but preventing our society from fostering discriminatory attitudes.

aprilsimnel's avatar

@iamthemob – I concur, and in turn, we’re fostering civility and manners among our fellow humans.

What did Kobe’s calling that ref a faggot have to do with the judgement the ref made? Nothing. He couldn’t make his case against it without resorting to name calling? That’s why he got in trouble.

Mikewlf337's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Yes tell them they’re wrong because they are.
@Seelix You would have to ask those who insult base what you listed. I couldn’t answer that.
@iamthemob There is not much you can do other than try your best to keep society from fostering discriminatory attitudes. I think tying to do that might be futile. People are just assholes and will insult any way they can. As long as it upsets those they are insulting.

iamthemob's avatar

@Mikewlf337 – Absolutely. Trying to keep society from fostering those ideas will be an eternal task.

But I think we’re better now in a lot of areas than we were 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago.

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