The death of Kobe Bryant has carved a large gulf through the nation in recent weeks. While there is a wealth of sympathy and grief over the loss of the Lakers icon, his daughter Gianna, and 7 others in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, the opposition has also grown. An opposition that wants to paint Bryant as a rapist stemming from 2003 allegations, making any honor he deserves tainted.
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Oprah came to Gayle King's defense over the interview she did with Lisa Leslie in which CBS showed a clip of King asking Leslie about Kobe Bryant's sexual assault charge in 2003. “When we’re having these conversations in mainstream media, especially as a black woman in media, we have to be so careful because this narrative has already been out there in a way that mainstream media was never about because there was zero representation in 2003 to even have a thought of what the Kobe side could have been," Cobb explains. . . . REAL. HONEST. ENTERTAINING. LIVE. | National TV show + digital news | A LIVE conversation about the day's trending stories.
This tug-of-war in public thought came to a head earlier this week after a portion of Gayle King's interview with WNBA star Lisa Leslie was shared. Daily Blast Live journalist Erica Cobb delivered an explanation that seemed to break down why talk of the allegations and make it clear why it is triggering in the wake of Bryant's death.
The clip shared by CBS News involved what King called an "out-of-context" clip where Bryant's sexual assault allegation was brought up. CBS News released a statement defending the interview and noting the clip was taken out of context.
"Gayle conducted a thoughtful, wide-ranging interview with Lisa Leslie about the legacy of Kobe Bryant. An excerpt was posted that did not reflect the nature and tone of the full interview. We are addressing the internal process that led to this and changes have already been made," the statement read according to Fox News.
Still, the reaction to Bryant's past accusations gaining spotlight amid a tragedy for the NBA, Los Angeles, and the nation has created a heated backlash and discussion. Cobb dived into why and made it clear that 2003 was a different time with different implications for race compared to today. She also reached back to the sparks of the Civil Rights movement, highlighting exactly why the allegations exist on a different plane.
We have to decide if we want to have a "comfortable conversation' or a "TRUTHFUL CONVERSATION"... the TRUTH will ALWAYS reign SUPREME! The comfort of others is irrelevant.— LeftLaneLady (@left_lady) February 8, 2020
"I'm not gonna say who's to blame, but I do think that we're trying to make a very uncomfortable conversation complicated," Cobb said in the clip from Daily Blast Live. "I think we're doing that because clearly there is a lot of emotion and a lot of hurt involved. In order to really have a conversation about why this has been such a big story if we have to talk about what was happening in 2003 when Kobe was first accused of rape – there were two different Americas.
"We had white households whose parents were telling their White daughters to beware of Kobe's in the wake of O.J. Simpson. We had Black households who were telling their kids about the story of Emmett Till – the 14-year-old Black boy who was killed in Mississippi for allegedly whistling at a woman in 1955 and we later learned that wasn't the truth."
Cobb goes on to say that these perspectives on race, Bryant exists in two different places depending on the group viewing him. To some, he's a black man who got away with rape, while others see him a redemption story where he surpassed the allegations to continue a career that cemented him as an NBA legend.
She hit it right out the park.— Don't Be putting that evil on me Ricky Bobby lol (@ThirdEyeLooking) February 8, 2020
And while some saw Bryant's apology as an "admission of guilt," Cobb offers another point of view.
"[Some] of us see his apology as fighting for his life. And we think about Emmett Till and how many times he apologized for something he didn't do in order to fight for his life," Cobb said. "And now we're here and we're having these conversations and we can't have these conversations with even a hint of not having historical context in them because it is just that painful. And that's the reason why no one wants to hear from any Black woman, Black man, and mainstream media that isn't speaking love, and peace, and honor on Kobe Bryant's name less than two weeks after his death."
King has reportedly received death threats as a result of her interview and the clip that was released earlier in the week. Snoop Dogg may have been the most high-profile name to attack King, even gaining a comment from Bill Cosby after defending him too.