Kobe’s Participation In Blackops Commercial Ignites Debate Over Game Violence

Kobe Bryant is in the news again for his off the court activities again. This time the controversy surrounds his participation in a commercial for the wildly popular video game, "Call of Duty: Blackops." The game allows players to simulate combat operations as if they are participating on the front lines of some historical conflicts. In the commercial, Kobe Bryant can be seen shooting an uzi and holding a BFG with the words "Mamba" on it.

Skip Bayless, on ESPN's First and 10, roundly criticized Bryant's participation in the ad noting that "He (Bryant) was smiling while holding an assault rifle in combat while we have troops overseas at this moment doing the same thing for real in combat. It's completely out of bounds for Kobe Bryant, who I thought had completely rehabilitated his image after Eagle Colorado., but even the great Kobe Bryant is not that, so to speak bulletproof."

Interestingly enough, Bayless did not criticize his employer, ESPN for heavily promoting the game and commercial in the days leading up to the release of Blackops.

But Bayless wasn't the only one critical of Bryant's participation. Sam Machkovech, a freelance writer, wrote in the Atlantic that Bryant's participation was a "disappoitment" and that the game "comes closer to selling real death than any video game possibly could." ESPN.com's Tim Keown penned a story earlier this week in which he recounts the disgust of funeral home worker and non-violence activist, Todd Walker, when he finds out Kobe is in the trailer. "What's wrong with (Bryant)," Walker asks.

The criticism has intuitive appeal. After all, gun violence is a major problem in urban and inner city communities all across America. There are stories after stories of young men and women's lives being cut short needlessly because of the use of violent weapons that Bryant is seen holding in his hands in the commercial.  The Supreme Court, just this week, decided its ...

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