“Sports is supposed to be a part of society, not apart from it.”

In order to find an article written by LZ that I didn’t already analyze, I looked at his editorial articles on ESPN.com. I found one that seemed interesting enough, but it didn’t seem to follow the witty and forthcoming side of LZ that I’ve grown to appreciate. The article titled, “Kobe Bryant’s lack of civility,” opens by insinuating public outrage by some homophobic and offensive statement Kobe made around that time. What he said, however, I did not find out until LZ described Kobe as dropping the “other F-bomb” about half way through the article. While it is probably a rhetorical strategy to keep the reader interested enough to continue and not just click away after they learned what was said, it greatly frustrated me. I didn’t like being “kept in the dark” six paragraphs in, and actually tried to skim ahead to see a quote highlighting what was said.

However, I think the article in its entirety is fairly well-written. LZ’s underlying message is that we should never stop addressing “ugly situations” when they arise; in order to “continue functioning as a civilized society,” we should not allow any type of prejudice to cause offense, even if it comes from our admired “star” athletes. It is stated, “There’s no room in baseball for disrespect and uncivil behavior, and there shouldn’t be tolerance for disrespect and uncivil behavior in connection with any game.” Following this, LZ provides an example of a Bulls fan spitting on a player for the Pheonix’s. Imagine that level of disrespect.

I agree with the tone of this article and think that in all games, sportsmanship isn’t just about losing gracefully or winning appreciatively. It’s about remaining civil and respectful to all players and fans; its about being a decent human being. And remember, sportsmanship doesn’t just apply to sports… we should all be decent and courteous people outside the game, as well. I hate when people use the “other F-bomb” or the “N-word” or any offensive slurs about woman in front of me, and there hasn’t been when I just let it slide. So why should Kobe be able to say it and only get a slap on the wrist? Because he’s a sports star? That just doesn’t sit well with me.

In an interesting turn in the article, LZ states, “If you think Kobe’s utterance in frustration was not that big of a deal, I am going to tell you that I agree with you. It’s not. It’s a little deal that lumps in with all the other little deals that we let go unchecked, because, well, it’s sports.” He then goes on to describe a simile with snowflakes falling on a mountain top, each being relatively harmless on their own but destructive when it causes an avalanche. I agree with his sentiment that instead of simply cutting away from Kobe’s tirade, in which he mentioned the offensive slur, TNT announcers should have denounced what was said and offered a public apology on his behalf (that is, until Kobe came out and apologized, himself).

But alas, no apology by Kobe was made, and a fine was sanctioned for $100,000. Is this enough? I guess that’s something each person would feel differently about, but what I think is that if he didn’t apologize then more than a simple (petty, to him) fine should be the consequence. Using offensive language in public as a sign of frustration isn’t just resorting to a “figure of speech,” it’s a slur that society needs to be more vigilant in stopping/preventing.

“…I’m going to hope the rest of us wouldn’t need the Lakers, the NBA or the media to point out that what he did was wrong. After all, sports is supposed to be a party of society, not apart from it.”

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