After Kobe Bryant's homophobic comments last week, the NBA's fined him $100,000, Kobe's apologized, and Wednesday, the Lakers released a public service announcement to promote gay rights. And all of that's well and good. But just for perspective's sake, here's a story that's 1,000 times cooler.
Recently, during a Brazilian volleyball match, the home crowd began chanting "bicha" at a visiting player, the equivalent of a bunch of Lakers fans calling Kevin Garnett a "faggot."
But here's what's worse—unlike the ref that Kobe called gay, the Brazilian player was actually gay, and after the game, he admitted as much publicly. So... a pretty terrible story all around. But that's when it starts getting good.
At the next match, the players joined together to wear pink warmup shirts to show solidarity. One of them even wore a rainbow-colored jersey.
And the crowd got in on the support two. There was a gigantic banner pledging to fight prejudice, and thousands of thundersticks with the player's name on each one. (Note: this might be the first and last time in human history that Thundersticks are an acceptable show of support.)
None of this is to say what the Lakers have done to stand with gay rights groups is insincere, and it's not an attack on Kobe, either. But next to gay rights "scandal" that's seemed fairly superficial every step of the way, isn't it pretty refreshing to see a real instance of discrimination get such a profound, sincere response from teammates?
Just when you think the world's all about posturing, people like these volleyball players remind that for all the politically correct nonsense, there's still plenty of real progress to applaud.