Openly gay former NBA star John Amaechi says Kobe Bryant is no more homophobic than the average person.

After he received a technical foul from referee Bennie Adams during a nationally televised game on Tuesday, Bryant yelled “Bennie … fucking faggot.” Bryant has apologized for his remark, and the NBA fined him $100,000 for the outburst.

Amaechi, who came out gay in 2007 after retiring from the sport, told USA Today that he wasn't surprised by the comments.

“I'm surprised that people are surprised,” Amaechi said. “This is common language when I played. It was an everyday word that I heard. I haven't seen anything new put in place [by the NBA) to tackle homophobia. There's no reason for it to somehow get better.”

While Amaechi said he wasn't buying Bryant's explanation not to take his words literally – “I doubt very much when he said that that he thought Bennie was a pile of sticks” – he added that he did not believe Bryant was any more homophobic that the average person.

“I don't think he is any more homophobic than the average person, or most certainly your average person in sports. When you're in the spotlight, when a camera is trained on your face on a daily basis, you don't have the luxury of losing control. When you do, I like to see people be a little more contrite than that.”