Kobe Bryant Featured in ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops’ Ad: Why the Backlash?

As I'm sure you've seen plenty of times on TV already, Lakers shooting guard and future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant appears in the newest ad for "Call of Duty: Black Ops."

The game itself has already proven to be one of the biggest hits of the year, selling over 7 million copies world wide within 24 hours of its release on November 7th. Its been widely praised by video game critics and fans alike.

Kobe Bryant happens to be one of the games fans. However, because he's a professional basketball player in an ad where he's shooting an assault weapon, you have a nice set up for an easy high horse column. 

"How could he participate in a commercial that glorifies violence? What was Kobe, a usually intelligent man, thinking? What a poor lapse of judgement!"

That's a generic column about the commercial written by a generic 50-something sportswriter who likely has the video game hiding in his bedroom closet to give to his 12 year old son on Christmas morning.

I thought nothing of the commercial because I know what the message behind it was, and I guess being raised on Mario, Sonic, Mortal Kombat and Madden helped me in doing this. The message in the commercial is that no matter who you are, no matter what your occupation, when you play the game, you are a soldier. This message was conveyed perfectly, as in addition to Kobe, the ad also starred late night host Jimmy Kimmel and actor Jake Gyllenhaal, plus many others portraying people from all walks of life from secretaries to fast food workers to hotel bellhops. 

But with sportswriters, the focus is on the athlete, and they love nothing more than to seek controversy in something that's usually benign. This ad was pretty benign.

Yesterday on "First and 10", of course, Skip Bayless took some time off from praising Jay Cutler and criticizing Lebron to admonish Kobe for participating in the ad, then wondered not if but when&n...

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