Newly-minted Oscar winner Kobe Bryant used his Oscars acceptance speech to take a shot at Fox News host Laura Ingraham and her recent comments about politically-outspoken athletes.
While accepting Best Animated Short for the adaptation of Bryant’s retirement letter to the NBA, “Dear Basketball,” the athlete’s collaborator Glen Keane said “anything is possible” of their win.
“I don’t know that anything is possible, as basketball players we’re really supposed to shut up and dribble,” Bryant went on to say, gripping his Academy Award statuette.
Bryant referred to Ingraham’s mid-February comments about NBA stars LeBron James and Kevin Durant, who she chided for criticizing President Donald Trump.
“Must they run their mouths like that?” the host said on her Fox News show “The Ingraham Angle.” “This is what happens when you attempt to leave high school a year early to join the NBA. Keep the political commentary to yourself. Or as someone once said, shut up and dribble.”
Igraham faced major backlash for the implication that athletes of James’ profile should be seen and not heard, stoking painful issues specifically among people of color in power positions and their celebrity supporters.
She later issued a statement saying, “there was no racial intent in my remarks — false, defamatory charges of racism are a transparent attempt to immunize entertainment and sports elites from scrutiny and criticism.”
In the Oscars press room after his win on Sunday, Bryant addressed his acceptance speech, saying: “For us not just as athletes but as people in general, we have the ability to speak up for what you believe in — whether you’re an athlete or not, whether you’re an actor or not.”