A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Thoughts on men who play with balls saying stupid things

with one comment

Alright, so Kobe Bryant just called someone a faggot, as I’m guessing most people who read me regularly already know. Some quick thoughts:

1. I’ve got a real hard time getting offended someone saying that word in anger. We said it when I grew up, I’m sure Kobe experienced the same thing. The stuff from your youth comes up when you’re angry. It’s not right, but it happens. As long as you apologize when people are offended, I’m cool with you.

2. Kobe acted like a much bigger fool when he apologized by saying this:

What I said last night should not be taken literally. My actions were out of frustration during the heat of the game, period

Of course he didn’t mean it literally, that’s much of the problem with the word. As bad as it would be to use the word literally and with negative emotions, when you use it non-literally, you are essentially saying “You’re as bad as one of those people” with a term that everyone knows what it means when used as an insult.

3. That Kobe doesn’t get that is disappointing because he’s a smart guy, but then again he’s also stubborn, and instead of getting a college degree, he’s spent his entire adult life surrounded by an environment of hyper-inflated machismo. To be expected.

4. The real truth that rears its head now and again, is that hanging around athletes and sports fans means that you’re hanging around with people who tend to be about as uncultured as you can get. Homophobia? Check. Misogyny? Check. Racism? Not as much in basketball, but you better believe it in other sports. Every time a WNBA thread comes up over at RealGM, I know I’m going to see some horrific sexism and utterly bizarre bitterness – and RealGM is one of the more enlightened places to talk sports on the ‘net.

I’m simply reconciled to the fact that stuff is going to happen that reveals a truth that’s embarrassing for me to associate myself with. I think it will gradually get better as long as American society doesn’t turn fundamentalist, but it’s always going to be dominated by macho guys, and macho guys are always going to be one one particular wing of the ideological spectrum.

Written by Matt Johnson

April 14, 2011 at 3:44 pm

One Response

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  1. Do I necessarily think that Kobe is more homophobic than the average American? Nope. Do I think that his use of the word in anger shows that homophobic slurs are accepted in NBA lockerooms in a way they’re not in wider society? Yup.

    Your point 4 is a really depressing truism. Sport is the one area of our lives where the inner troglodyte is given full sway.


    April 15, 2011 at 4:56 pm

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