Entertainment

Once Accused of Rape, Kobe Bryant Takes Aim at ‘Shut Up and Dribble’

Basketball star nabs Oscar, goes after line from Fox News host Laura Ingraham — but petition to withdraw his win is gaining steam

Though she was not directly named, none other than Fox News host Laura Ingraham of “The Ingraham Angle,” and LifeZette’s co-founder, was targeted by basketball star Kobe Bryant during Sunday night’s Academy Awards.

Bryant indirectly referenced the conservative commentator when he said — after receiving an Academy Award for Best Animated Short for “Dear Basketball” — “as basketball players, we are really supposed to shut up and dribble.”

The line was in reference to the criticism Ingraham leveled at LeBron James after the athlete let out an expletive-laced tirade against President Donald Trump.

James — along with many others in the mainstream media — has since referenced those comments on several occasions.

But in a rather ironic turn, Kobe Bryant was one of Sunday night’s most controversial nominees.

Many people complained about his recognition at a time that #MeToo and #TimesUp are trending; the athlete has had his own run-ins with sexual misconduct allegations in the past.

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Back in 2003, a 19-year-old Colorado girl accused him of sexual assault and he was arrested. Early on, Bryant denied the encounter, yet later told police that he and the alleged victim did engage in a sexual encounter but that it was consensual. The young woman decided not to testify before the trial and the charges were dropped; she later filed a civil suit that was settled out of court.

Now, more than 16,000 people have signed an online petition demanding the Academy take that Oscar away from him.

The rest of Bryant’s speech on Sunday night did not hit on politics — but he was definitely an odd person to be speaking up during the #MeToo era.

His mention of “shut up and dribble” at the Oscars followed criticism from the leftist “Saturday Night Live” against Ingraham for daring to criticize a basketball player for making politics his focus. She’s invited LeBron James to appear on her show to make his case, but so far “the King” has not responded to her invite.

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