Kobe Bryant found himself in some hot water with the NBA yesterday, after the league fined him $100,000 for dropping a homophobic slur directed at a referee during Monday night's clash with the San Antonio Spurs.
Bryant was upset with a technical called on him by official Bennie Adams, and cameras caught him punching a chair (then his teammate), throwing towels around and, finally, calling to the ref before muttering a term also used to describe a bundle of sticks.
While I agree that Bryant's use of the word was unnecessary, offensive and, frankly, stupid (seriously, that's the best you can come up with, Kobe?), the fine for me is much like Wayne Rooney's suspension in the Premiership.
Yes, Bryant shouldn't have said what he said. But he clearly meant the term as an expletive and was voicing his displeasure with the official's call.
What Kobe should have been forced to do was offer a real apology (the one he gave felt a little fake), then move on with the business of playing basketball. Fining him for swearing, something players do on a constant basis on the court, was silly. It's clear that, like Rooney and the FA, the NBA was trying to make an example out of Bryant because cameras caught him.
In the end, the punishment just didn't fit the crime.
Meanwhile, Barry Bonds was found guilty of one count of obstructing justice, but the jury was hung on the perjury charges, and Landon Donovan managed to single-handedly piss of the entire city of Sacramento by being a colossal jerk on Twitter.
In other words, it's going to be a wild day in the sports world.