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Kobes $100K initiation into the real world
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It is inexcusable what Kobe Bryant mouthed an NBA official. In case you haven’t watched any form of mass or social media in the last few days now that Charlie Sheen’s rantings have become yesterday’s news it was the gay slur that starts with an “f.”

Such language should not be tolerated at all in a public forum, And while a case can be made that it shouldn’t be used at all such vulgarities are the price we pay for the concept of relatively free speech. It is relative because contrary to popular belief you do not have the absolute wholesale right to say what you want without consequences. If it is libelous or slanderous - or incites a riot - you can and should be held responsible.

The incident prompted the NBA to fine $100,000 which Bryant said he is going to appeal. The incident has set off 24/7 banter from talking heads everywhere from ESPN to PBS with some of it focusing on how tough it is to be a celebrity today.

By the way, Bryant needs a reality check. That $100,000 fine is based as much on the fact he cursed at an official while throwing a mini tantrum on the bench. Bryant may think he is a deity and might be seen that way by some basketball fanatics but there are rules that we all have to follow.

But that said, why do we as a society go over backwards to “embrace” one group’s right to free speech over another’s?

Take the case of a student at Thurston High in Springfield, Oregon, who had the Pacific Justice Institute go to bat for him. The student was allowed to wear a “Straight Pride” shirt to school Friday during the annual Day of Silence that the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network calls for each year to draw attention to gay and lesbian issues. Last year, the student was suspended for wearing the shirt on the Day of Silence as school officials said it constituted harassment of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.

Remember the good old days when T-shirts were banned from schools let alone ones with writing on them and the biggest protest was over the dress code?

At any rate, the school allowed free speech on a sexuality issue - students being silent all day - so they must allow opposing views. A teachable moment in tolerance, by the way, doesn’t mean elevating one viewpoint while suspending those who disagree.

Not to be out done, the California State Senate is moving toward another “teachable” moment. They want gay, lesbian, and transgender history to be incorporated into social studies in California.

I didn’t realize that social studies classes taught straight sexuality history or perhaps the politicians have bought into what the gay-lesbian advocates objects to that the real normalcy is straight sexuality.

The real issue here should be why sexuality - straight or otherwise - is taught at all in public schools.

Sexuality should not be a litmus test for anyone.

In a sense, the schools brought this all upon themselves when they stopped enforcing PDAs - public displays of affection - such as holding hands and kissing on campus.

A few years back educators acted swiftly at one Manteca Unified high school campus when two boys were walking holding hands. Funny, but that never was an issue when boys and girls did the same thing and even kissed even though it was clearly against the rules.

We need to be tolerant and accepting of people who are different. At the same time, sexuality has no place in the classroom, on a campus, on a job or at a workplace.

Bryant will more than likely argue in his appeal that the epitaph he spewed “was in the heat of the moment.” He already has claimed he didn’t mean the word to be demeaning. That’s about as plausible as him insisting he didn’t mean to help the Los Angeles Lakers win NBA championships.

Sorry, Kobe, you did it in a workplace.

Playing basketball is a job with workplace rules. In the real world everyone else lives in except for celebrities like Bryant, someone who angrily screamed the gay epitaph starting with “f” at a fellow worker would either get suspended, fired, or put on short notice. If the employer didn’t take action the government bureaucracy set up to deal with such things along with the courts would make sure someone would pay big time.

Kobe should be happy to just get a $100,000 fine.

A worker in any other field would have been suspended, fired or be sued for creating a hostile workplace.

Yes, the rules - and decorum - of the American workplace even apply to multi-million dollar NBA athletes.