by G. Brown
WNBA Sparks star Lisa Leslie sat down recently with “CBS This Morning” anchor Gayle King to reminisce about her longtime friend Kobe in the aftermath of the helicopter crash that claimed his life and eight others including his daughter Gianna Bryant. Instead, Leslie sounded like Kobe’s defense lawyer as the 47-year old field questions about old allegations of rape against Bryant.
Leslie told King, “Kobe, he was never like that. I have never see…have ever seen him being the kind of person that would be would never do something to violate a woman or be aggressive in that way.” King followed up by pointing out that perhaps because of her close friendship with Kobe, Leslie may have been blinded to the possibility that her friend could have done something like that. Leslie remained loyal to the friend she had known for nearly 30 years saying, “That’s possible. I just don’t believe that, and I’m not saying things didn’t happen. I just don’t believe that things didn’t happen with force.”
The nearly 20-year-old allegations against Kobe resurfaced three days after his death when Disney heiress Abigail Disney posted comments that Kobe was a rapist. Since then, “Westworld” actress Evan Rachel Woods has joined the chorus in attempts to add rapist to Kobe’s legacy tweeting. “I am heartbroken for Kobe’s family. He was a sports hero. He was also a rapist.” The criminal charges against Kobe were dismissed when the alleged victim refused to testify in court. Kobe reportedly paid an undisclosed amount in a civil suit, but he continued to deny any guilt though he did admit to engaging in a consensual sexual relationship with his accuser.
Leslie concluded with King by calling out the media saying, “the media should be more respectful. It’s like if you had questions about it, you had many years to ask him that. I don’t think it’s something that we should keep hanging over his legacy.”
The media has a job to do, it usually involves asking difficult questions at the worst possible time. But the media is also obligated to be fair. King at one point asked Leslie if the charges of rape against Kobe made it difficult for her as a woman to defend him. That’s not a fair question—it basically implies that Leslie has to choose between being a woman and being Kobe’s friend. It also dismisses the fact that Kobe was never tried or convicted on rape charges—yet, many are comfortable with calling him a rapist based on allegations.
Kobe fans online accuse King of following in the footsteps of best friend Oprah and ready to drag the memory of any Black man through the mud for ratings.
Leslie’s point is well taken…if journalist, the media, fans and other celebrities didn’t ask Kobe about the allegations for almost 20 years, why wait until he can’t answer questions to bring it up now? The court settled the criminal case by dismissing it–shouldn’t that settle it for just about everyone?
What do you think….are journalists and even fans being fair to bring up rape allegations against Kobe after his death? Is King just doing her job or do you agree with fans that she shares a similar mission to destroy Black men?