Because our employment law lawyers want our employment discrimination blogs to be accurate and comprehensive, we do not prepare them and throw them up on the website the same day. Much like representing our clients, our attorneys put a lot of time and attention into these blogs, which are usually prepared weeks in advance of publication. The subject of today’s blog was breaking the barriers of discrimination in professional sports. At the bottom of this blog, we had a quote and a link to a video from a retired athlete praising his daughter and Kobe Bryant’s belief that his eldest daughter could carrier his mantle. I have brought that quote and link up to the top after the tragic events yesterday that claim the life of the athlete and his 13-year-old daughter. Of course, we are talking about Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant. Our attorneys and all of our staff offer our prayers and best wishes for all the families that were involved in the helicopter crash.
Kobe Bryant and his legacy will go much further than what he did on the court. Kobe Bryant often spoke out about race discrimination as part of the “I can’t breathe” protests when Eric Garner, an African American, who died while being arrested in New York after being placed in a chokehold. Born in Italy, Kobe grew up speaking fluent English and Italian, but then learned French and Serbian to communicate with teammates (and to cuss out unwitting referees). So, yeah, I count that as setting a good example against national origin discrimination. In 2013, Kobe took to twitter to respond to a fan using homophobic slurs: “Just letting you know [user names removed] that using “your gay” as a way to put someone down ain’t ok! #notcool delete that out ur vocab.” Kobe, a military brat, took pride in our armed forces and took a hard push to restore the patriotism to USA Basketball with the Redeem Team. Military discrimination? No way.
But, the reason that we had planned to quote Kobe Bryant was for his 2018 appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. Kobe told Kimmel that fans would rush up to him and say “you gotta have a boy, you gotta someone to carry on the tradition, the legacy.” Kobe described the reaction of his daughter, who he called GiGi, “She’s like, ‘Oh, I got this. I got this.” (watch the video) And, Kobe never doubted her. There was no hint of gender bias or discrimination.
Our employment discrimination attorneys just got done blogging about “Will Tomorrow’s Bosses Discriminate?” Kobe set an example to the next generation that goes far beyond the basketball court or even judicial courts. Our lawyers can tell you over and over that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful to discriminate based on race/color, religion, gender/sex, and national origin, and age. We can yell until we are blue in the face that the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) makes disability discrimination illegal and that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (“PDA”) makes pregnancy discrimination unlawful. But, it takes people to make changes. People like Kobe, like Gigi standing up to be the heir when others say it needs to be a boy. That is what change is all about. People. So, for my daughters, for every young girl working hard that is challenged about what they can accomplish, your response should be “Oh, I got this.” The go get it.
You know what, the rest of the blog can wait. Kobe, Gigi, John, Kerri and Alyssa Altobelli, and the three yet to be identified passengers. Rest in peace. Our prayers are with you and your family
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