Image Repair

By: Chase Strickland

For my image repair article, written with Kat Largent, we are focusing on the image repair of now-retired basketball star Kobe Bryant. The image repair was necessary because Bryant used a gay slur directed at one of the NBA officials during a game, as seen below.

Video from Newbeat2012’s Youtube

He suffered severe media backlash and was fined by the NBA for his comments. Bryant ultimately apologized for his choice of words but did seek to appeal the fine.

While working on the beginning of this paper, it promises to be very interesting, as there are multiple unique elements to this case.

  1. Bryant was extremely polarizing.

While many people loved Kobe’s alpha-dog mentality, the many who did not hated him. They viewed him as selfish, arrogant, and a bad person. All of these mean his past reputation was not exactly stellar.

  1. Bryant used a gay slur.

Not only does the case involve Bryant’s past reputation, it also involves gender politics and the ever-growing debate about homosexuality. The choice of Bryant’s words makes it not only a case of mistreatment of an official, but a case of the treatment of homosexuality in general.

  1. The case involves racial politics.

Bryant, as an African-American male, could have been treated and received differently than if a Caucasian male had made a similar comment. The case will examine if he was given any differing treatment based on his race.

All of these elements allow us to examine this case from a unique perspective. How does it differ from other stars with mixed reputations? From others who used gay slurs? From other offensive comments from people of other races? Working further on this article should help us find out and be able to answer some of these questions. For now, it is too early to say.


Photo from

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