I really liked this related article:
Brazilian Volleyball Fans Show Mass Support for Gay Player After "Faggot" Chant Incident
*Flame suit on*.....I think that some terms/words/phrases have or can transcend their original meaning and be used without ill intent. I don't use the term *fa*****, but if I heard someone say it my mind would not go immediately to homophobic hate speech. I certainly think that Americans could elevate their speech and be more mindful about the words they choose, but in the middle of a competition when someone is riled up and frustrated I don't think it should be taken the same way as if he just walked by someone on the street and said it. I can think of a number of terms I would call a ref (hopefully inaudibly) were I competing and saw a bad call and what Kobe said would be probably tamer than all of them.
I am intrued by this arguement in this situation. I have definately this before. BUT... with this specific word, has it really entered the common vernacular as a non-negative thing? Yes, it is well within common usage to throw out the (as my DP calls it) "actually offensive F-bomb" and have it have nothing to do with sexual orientation. But, it generally seems to still be an *insult.* Basically, saying that being gay, in itself, IS synonymous with insult. You aren't saying the person *is* gay, just saying that they're ****insult bad qualities here****, like a gay person. How is this better? It's very similar to how so many people seem to use the word "Retarded" synonymously with unenjoyable, not-cool, etc... It really doesn't make the situation better.