The Los Angeles Lakers debuted a new video message to their fans today, making it clear that anti-gay and defamatory slurs (like the one used by Kobe Bryant last week) have no place in their stadium. The video is airing locally in the Los Angeles area, but more importantly, it will play during Lakers home games at the Staples Center.
Bryant starts off the video, telling fans that our differences are “what (make) the world special.” Teammates Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, Shannon Brown and Ron Artest join him in inviting fans to celebrate differences of race, ethnicity, political beliefs, religion, and sexual orientation. Bryant then ends by telling fans that “words could be hurtful,” and advising them to replace hurtful language with “understanding, compassion and acceptance.”
After meeting with GLAAD and other groups last week -and after we suggested the team send a message about language to its fans at home games - the Lakers took the initiative in creating this script and shooting the video at their practice facility. We thank the Lakers for taking this issue seriously and for taking the time out of their playoff preparations to film this message for fans.
This video is a welcome addition to the NBA’s existing anti-bullying efforts – which were actually started long before last week’s incident. The NBA has been working with our friends at GLSEN for quite some time on a campaign to teach its fans about the power of words. (An ad featuring Phoenix Suns players Grant Hill and Jared Dudley will air during the NBA Finals.)