EL SEGUNDO, Calif.–Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 by the NBA for using a homophobic slur aimed at a referee during Tuesday night’s game. Commissioner David Stern called the language “offensive and inexcusable.”

“As an individual, you have to be responsible for your own actions,” Bryant said on ESPN’s “Mason and Ireland Show.” “The comment I made, even though it was not meant as what it’s perceived to be, is nonetheless wrong. It’s our responsibility to turn it into a positive and try to raise as much awareness as we possibly can to say that its not OK to disrespect.”

Bryant called Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, before Wednesday nights game in Sacramento to apologize, Solmonese said.

“I applaud Kobe Bryant for his swift apology,” Solmonese said. “We had a very sincere conversation in which he expressed his heartfelt regret for the hurt that his words caused. He told me it’s never OK to degrade or tease, and that he understands how his words could unfortunately give the wrong impression that this is appropriate conduct.”