I’m Sensitive About How Sensitive Other People Are

roy

Before the most important game of the Pacers season (something I’ve said about nearly every game this series) I decided I would take a moment and talk about the thing everyone else is talking about, no homo-gate. I’ll be as concise as possible since the game happens to be occurring in 2 hours and I want people to have plenty of time to call me an oversensitive liberal asshole before tip-off. But isn’t typing a sentence saying you will be concise the very opposite of conciseness, Ryan? Shut up.

Before I take off let me first show how qualified I am to talk about this. I am white, male, straight, have hair, am not obese, and have been middle class my whole life. Obviously I know a lot about being discriminated against. But in all seriousness I am as socially liberal as you could want and I DO NOT give concessions to athletes on my favorite teams heading into important games (Chris Culliver/Super Bowl). Unlike everyone who defends bigoted comments I will not say “I have gay friends.” I am friendly with quite a few gay people and we are friends on Facebook/Twitter but I don’t have any of their phone numbers and we don’t hang out ultra-regularly. This is not because they are gay but because I am difficult to hang out with and can be distant and stand-offish. Also I am very wary in giving my number to people. I want to be sure they pass my criteria (none of which revolve around their sexuality). I do have a fantasy where a random friend comes out to me first because I am so open-minded and a great listener, but that is based purely on my own opinion of myself and the fact that I could forever feel superior to all of that person’s other friends or family. So if you want to come and give me the greatest gift of all time that would be stellar. SHUT THE HELL UP RYAN! BE CONCISE!

For the one person who looks only to me for news and has no idea what happened. Roy was in a press conference talking about defense after Game 6. He said he was being stretched out by Miami Heat players (all who are men with penises) and so, to clear up any confusion we might have had about his sexuality based on his late rotation due to guarding a guy standing near the perimeter, he said, “no homo.” He then laughed quite a bit at his own hacky joke (this is what personally offended me the most as someone who tries to be funny, but I don’t think he should be suspended for it) and got a few laughs from others in the room but I don’t know who those people were to point at and chastise as the homophobic cretins with bad sense of humors that they were.

He later went on to call the reporters mother fuckers who don’t watch Pacers games during the season. Needless to say he was in rare form.

The league fined him (which he himself said they would do mid-rant), and some people seemed legitimately upset by the fine. That makes no sense. I know you will hide behind your free speech bullshit argument but why not go into your next business meeting and drop a “no homo” and a “mother fucker” and see if you don’t get some kind of punishment. Free speech is only for the government. When you sign a contract with the NBA  you are also signing on to follow the code of conduct. They restrict your rights because you are representing them and they want to be represented a certain way.

People’s outrage would not die, and part of the reason was because apparently ESPN was having a field day with the “no homo” comment (I say apparently because I only watch ESPN when I am watching an actual sporting event). If you want a history of what Pacers fans feel towards ESPN and their representation of the team may I point you to when Roy Hibbert called the media mother fuckers. We don’t like ESPN. Sportscenter rarely covers the Pacers and their editorial talking head shows predict they will lose all the time. According to my twitter feed and Facebook ESPN is currently “blowing the ‘no homo’ comment out of proportion” according to every Pacers fan I know. I haven’t watched so I don’t know how they are covering it. I assume they are talking about it because it’s the juiciest storyline and they are trying to get all they can ratings-wise out of the game since they don’t have it on their network.

The media has a right to do this and I don’t understand why people are this upset about it.

A) The story will be dead once the game starts unless Hibbert pulls a Kobe and calls the ref a “f—–” after notching his 5th foul in the first half. Once the game is over ESPN will be talking about the next series because guess what network it’s on? (Before you try to be a wise-ass ABC is owned by ESPN)

B) If it bothers you that much don’t watch it. There are other stations and other things besides sports that can pass the time before more sports actually happen. Take a nap, watch a movie, read a book, watch some porn. Why do you care what Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith are talking about? The more you complain about them on Twitter the more you solidify their jobs. Buzz = ratings.

C) If someone says something dumb they deserved to be called out on it. Whether the severity is “too much” is debatable, but every different talking head show on ESPN is going to discuss it and most will probably say the same thing. “It was a stupid comment. Sports’ culture still has a long way to go in terms of acceptance of homosexuality. He deserves to be fined.” Some of the more inflammatory people will say he deserved to be suspended but suspensions for quotes are very rare. The only one I remember one is when Shaq dropped a “mother fucker” and a “shit” on live post game on the court interview so they couldn’t bleep it out.

Well I’ve thrown conciseness out the window, but to my greater point. To me, the way people have reacted to the whole news is very telling about how important not using phrases like “no homo” is for our culture. Stupidly I read many comments after articles (very few being from ESPN) regarding the comments. While most of these articles agreed with my overall thoughts on the matter, the commenters were adamant in their defense of Roy Hibbert saying homophobic shit. Make no mistake the vast majority of defenses I’ve seen have been about the comment and not the man. That is not good.

You shouldn’t say homophobic stuff for the same reason you shouldn’t say sexist or racist stuff. A group of people who are fighting for equality have a difficult enough time as it is. Compounded onto the fact that if you are gay there is a section of the population that is delusion and horrible and think it’s wrong and a choice and a sin. For all their troubles women and minorities don’t have people telling them their biological make-up was their own choosing and they chose wrong and God will punish them to go along with less rights.

My defense from the start of this mess was this. Beyond level of play and work ethic for the team Roy has been good for this city, franchise, and league. He reaches out to the community, so much so that my complaining about his shitty play compared to his recent contract was met mostly by silence or people waiting for him to (finally) have a good game and then take to Twitter with how great he is. The fans that have called the Pacers thugs for the past 10 years (despite them not being thugs for a solid 5) are so in on this guy that they won’t complain about bad play. WHEN DOES THAT EVER HAPPEN IN SPORTS? Beyond that he’s a player that wants to be here (I thought he would want to be in L.A.) and has, up until last Saturday, kept his nose completely clean.

So for the people overreacting to the man himself (and there are many that are) let’s let time be the ultimate judge on him. I am willing to be he does something with an LGBT group this summer. I am also willing to bet he does it of his own volition and it doesn’t get much press. It’s the type of guy he seems to be. I’m not going to call him a homophobe for one dumb joke.

You know why? Because Roy Hibbert is two years younger than me and I know what the lingo was back in the 90s. Things that were dumb were gay and “fag” was the go to insult. None of us knew any better and few if any even made the connection in our heads to actual homosexuals. I am as liberal as it gets in regards to LGBT rights but I said gay and fag A LOT in my life (I actively tried to stop in middle school and never say it anymore). They didn’t mean anything to kids and for most people they don’t mean anything now. I’m not naive enough to think a kid could have come out in my era and not faced insane ridicule, but most of us didn’t know what we were saying had negative impact. Now I have to state:

THIS IS NOT A DEFENSE OF SAYING THOSE THINGS. For kids growing up in the 90s it was unfortunate but forgivable that our dialect was unintentionally homophobic, and I do think it’s a habit because a few still use the term and I know they have the same opinion regarding gay rights as I do. We need to be better as a people and realize these aren’t innocuous things. Just because a person doesn’t mean any harm doesn’t mean no harm is done. On the same point, just because a 26 year old who grew up in a culture where it was OK to make these allusions doesn’t make him a homophobe.

There are kids and adults out there right now who are gay and afraid to come out. It’s hard to imagine you are going to be accepted from your friends and family if they use the term that describes you to describe things that are unpleasant (again you can come out to me because I am ultra-open minded and a crazy good listener).

The statement needs to be forever condemned, but not the man. He made his bed and he has lied in it so let’s give him the opportunity to grow. Maybe he used the phrase often and this will help him phase it out of his lingo for good.

Now to quell any last minute arguments I may get (examples of some dumb comments I read yesterday):

1) “No homo” isn’t derogatory. The person is actually saying he’s not a homosexual. If a gay person said “no hetero” no one would care – You are making a (terrible) joke saying that you are worried people will think you are gay because the statement you used could be seen as a double entendre. That’s homophobic, idiot. As for the person asserting he is heterosexual…do you actually think people thought Roy was coming out because of a way he worded a comment about defense in a press conference. Lastly, I wish someone would come out to their parents like, “Shela has been all over me about getting the science project done…no hetero.” Now that would be funny.

2) The fine was excessive – In terms of our salaries yes. Roy makes millions of dollars. Fines should be weighted by contract or certain players could do things and not have to worry about it *cough* LeBron flops *cough*

3) We live in an oversensitive PC world. If a comedian said it no one would care – First off, if a comedian said it in the way Roy said it I would care because that is a garbage joke. In my opinion the comedians who skirt the edge successfully often use derogatory jokes to make fun of the something else besides the what the derogatory comment is about usually. Whether it be the person who says words like that, or maybe how censors will bleep out some while not others. Only shitty awful comedians use the terms as a straightforward way of making fun of the people.

As for the oversensitive comment. You can’t argue that comments like that are derogatory. That is not an opinion it’s a fact. Why can’t you just not say those things? Do you need to call your cell phone gay because it’s not getting service. Do you need to say “no homo” in conversation (if yes you are an unfunny person and should probably quit trying)? Also why are you so sensitive about everyone’s perceived over-sensitivity? It’s called freedom of press asshole. YOU CAN’T TAKE MY GUNS!

4) I have gay friends and I use the no homo line all the time and they don’t care – I bet your gay friends talk behind your back to your black friends about how unfunny you are with your racist homophobic lines.

5) The media are mother fuckers – yes

6) Do you know what concise means. – yes 😦

7) Did you edit the last half of this. – Barely I wanted to get it out before tip off.

8) But wasn’t LGBT community taking it too far on their bashing of Roy – Actually they seemed more sensible than most. Here is the comment from Athlete Ally, which is a group trying to stop homophobia in sports:

“We are disappointed by Hibbert’s comments, as that kind of language is disrespectful, has no place in sports and is antithetical to the NBA’s policies. As an official partner of the NBA and NBPA, Athlete Ally works closely with the league on delivering trainings and workshops to educate players about LGBT inclusion and respect. The league is undoubtedly a leader in this area, and Roy’s statement of apology clearly recognizes the harms of his comments.We are confident that NBA will do its part to rectify the issue to the extent it can, comprehensively educate Hibbert, who seems genuinely apologetic, and make sure that these kinds of comments are soon a thing of the past.”

I got that from this article. Seems pretty levelheaded to me. Disappointed in Roy, concerned about the language and saying why it is bad. They admit Hibbert seems apologetic who issued a press release apology that I was less thrilled about. I’d rather him have candidly said something but whatever. The response wasn’t as overreactionary as many have claimed.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. 1) ABC owns ESPN, not vice versa, as I recall.

    2) More people should be reminded that watching porn is an alternative to filling their time with talking heads – sports, political or other. I think we’d all prefer to live in that America, if we would just try it.

    3) I confess, the episode of “The Boondocks” where Riley keeps using the phrase makes me laugh – though I’m laughing *at* Riley, where too many people seem to be laughing *with* him. That’s the problem with a lot of today’s comedy: the audience doesn’t understand when specific behavior is on display so we can see it for how offensive it is rather than so we can adopt it as a role model.

    4) “Concise”…You keep saying that word. i do not think it means what you think it means…

    Reply

    • 1) Close enough
      2) More porn
      3) I agree
      4a) That was my joke. I was trying to be concise, but as usual I wrote an overlong thing that probably wasn’t always clear.
      4b) If you knew it was a joke and were just playing off my joke I commend you.

      Reply

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