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Did The NBA Fine Kobe Bryant For His Comments Or Because He Got Caught?

The NBA acted rather decisively on Wednesday, levying a $100,000 fine to Kobe Bryant for his homophobic slur yelled at referee Bennie Adams in Tuesday night's game. Commissioner David Stern called the comments by Bryant "offensive and inexcusable." However, what does this punishment mean going forward in the NBA? Over at the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll, Dexter Fishmore and C.A. Clark tackled this question in an excellent editorial on the events of the last 24 hours:

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As a matter of precedent, however, that the league attached a hefty fine to the censure raises more questions than it answers. The fine is a symbol, numerically unimportant both to Kobe and to the NBA, but it opens a Pandora's Box as to what the league should and should not seek to remove from the game. What swearing is deemed "offensive and inexcusable" and what words are acceptable? Is Kobe getting fined because he said something he shouldn't have, or getting fined because he was caught? If the NBA uses this incident as a chance to educate its players about why this type of language isn't acceptable, and going forward enforces (as much as possible) these rules of conduct on the rest of the league, then bravo. If nothing happens until the next time someone is foolish enough to be caught on slow-motion replay, we'll know the league's actions were nothing more than saving face. Either way, Stern is appropriately marking Kobe's behavior as well below the standard to which NBA players should be held.

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I strongly suggest that you read the entire piece written by Fishmore and Clark. For more news and information on the Lakers, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.