HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — NBA legend Kobe Bryant leaves behind a big legacy in Pennsylvania. One state senator has introduced a resolution to honor him, but with it comes controversy about Bryant’s past.
Since news broke of Bryant’s death from a helicopter crash Sunday, his hometown in Montgomery County has been in mourning.
“People are just in utter shock. I mean Kobe Bryant meant an awful lot to the people of Lower Merion,” state Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) said.
Leach introduced a resolution to honor the life and career of Bryant, gaining several co-sponsors.
“These are unanimous consent resolutions, which means they only run if there’s unanimous consent,” Leach said. “Anyone can object and block the resolution.”
Sen. Katie Muth (D-Berks/Chester/Montgomery) is one of the senators who blocked it.
“He was a talented basketball player, but he also was a credibly accused rapist and there was DNA evidence to back this up, and I think it’s very tone-deaf to just emphasize this one individual,” Muth said.
Muth said Leach faced his own accusations of sexual harassment, though an investigation by Senate Democrats found no evidence for such.
Bryant was accused of rape in 2003. His accuser opted not to testify and the criminal case was dropped, though a civil suit was pursued and settled out of court.
“We don’t just erase the wrongdoing,” Muth said. “We have to remember it all and to pretend that it didn’t happen and prop him up on a pedestal is really disrespectful to the survivor and all survivors that are reading this in the media.”
Leach sees it differently.
“To me, this is the time to sort of reflect on the lives of people that died tragically way too early, and that’s what I’m focused on,” Leach said.
Because the resolution was not unanimous, it will now be referred to a committee before it can be brought to the Senate floor for a vote.