The NBA was reviewing Wednesday an incident in which Lakers star Kobe Bryant appeared to yell a homophobic slur at a referee after being assessed a technical foul.
Bryant was hit with a technical foul Tuesday night with about six minutes remaining in the third quarter of the Lakers’ 102-93 win over the Spurs.
After heading to the bench, where he angrily smacked a chair and threw a towel, Bryant was shown by TNT’s cameras appearing to yell the words (expletive) (expletive) at referee Bennie Adams.
"What I said (Tuesday) night should not be taken literally. My actions were out of frustration during the heat of the game, period. The words expressed do NOT reflect my feelings towards the gay and lesbian communities and were NOT meant to offend anyone," Bryant said in a statement released Wednesday by the Lakers.
The Human Rights Campaign lashed out at Bryant Wednesday, saying it is "a disgrace for Kobe Bryant to use such horribly offensive and distasteful language, especially when millions of people are watching," according to TMZ.
"Hopefully Mr. Bryant will recognize that as a person with such fame and influence, the use of such language not only offends millions of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people around the world, but also perpetuates a culture of discrimination and hate that all of us, most notably Mr. Bryant, should be working to eradicate," the group added.
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination (GLAAD) also contacted the Lakers about the incident.