His death is widely recognized as a tragedy, but his life has caused more complicated reactions, stemming from 2003 allegations of sexual assault, the subsequent dismissal of the criminal charges, civil settlement out of court, and his apology which conceded the essential charges. We’ve seen The Washington Post inexplicably suspend a reporter for simply tweeting a reported piece about the sexual assault allegations.
Though since deleted, the reporter, Felicia Sonmez, tweeted in response to the suspension:
I believe that Washington Post readers and employees, including myself, deserve to hear directly from @PostBaron on the newspaper’s handling of this matter. My statement on The Post’s decision tonight: pic.twitter.com/t5ULzUQhYTJanuary 29, 2020
She’s since been reinstated, but the media world was aflutter with opinions on the matter. It’s an unfortunate reality in today’s media environment, and I was saddened to see it, personally because I’m not a fan of anything that takes away from the act of remembering this colossal figure, for good and for ill. No one has a monopoly on grieving or remembering, and one form is not better than another. It’s a valid point to acknowledge that, if Bryant’s allegations and apology had come about in the age of #MeToo, it very well may have ended his career. Anyone observant (and honest) enough to make that connection doesn’t deserve death threats from an angry online mob (and, to be fair, Somnez didn’t actually make any commentary on the subject).
In my last post, I lamented, in a selfish journalist way, the Kobe-at-50 article that will never be. In the short time Bryant was away from the NBA, he’d already won an Oscar for Dear Basketball. What else was in store for him over the next decade? But his death has prompted numerous touching pieces, far ahead of their time, and gives us cause to remember some great pieces from the past. Enjoy some great writing on a great athlete.
- Kobe Bryant Was Just Beginning to Figure Something Out by Nathaniel Friedman, GQ
- The Best Advice Kobe Bryant Ever Gave Me by Mike Sager, The Atlantic
- The Kobe Bryant I Knew by Jamele Hill, The Atlantic