Posted by: joshjasper | May 24, 2011

Watch Your Mouth…Because We Are

Growing up I would sit in the upstairs of the barn watching Michael Jordan and his Bulls systematically dismantle any team that got in their way on an old black and white 13 inch television. I had every Hoops and Skybox basketball card made during those years and knew every stat of every player on each of them. I was a die-hard NBA fan to say the least.

These days it seems like I only catch a NBA game when it’s playoff time. This year I watched the Lakers get swept, the Memphis Grizzlies grow into a real contender, and the Boston Celtics limp off into the summer. Sadly, millions of viewers have also noticed something else going on during the post season that has little to do with the game of basketball and more to do with outright homophobia and hate.

Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 in April for calling a referee a “fucking faggot,” and just the other night Joakim Noam from the Chicago Bulls became enraged at a fan and called him a “faggot” as well. Both players have acknowledged wrongdoing and have been fined by the league, but that’s not enough. Someone needs to be talking with these men about why they choose to use homophobic slurs when they get emotional or upset. Noah stated in a post game interview that he is an “open-minded guy,” adding that he’s not here to hurt anyone’s feelings. You have to wonder how “open-minded” someone is when screaming a homophobic slur at a complete stranger…for whatever the reason. Am I too believe that the regular use of this slur is a coincidence and has nothing to do with homophobia?

What about their teammates? Why isn’t anyone pulling them aside and letting them know what they said was wrong, and leaving it at that? Instead, several of their teammates have come to their defense. Bulls forward Luol Dang said “But that fan should have been out of the game. He should have been thrown out way before. He just kept going at him, and in an emotional game like that, and things not going Jo’s way, it’s just human nature to react. There are times when a fan like that — honestly, I feel like jumping in the crowd and hitting him.” So I guess that fan had it coming to him right, Luol? Human nature??

To make an excuse for your “uncontrollable” behavior is just that…an excuse. We must all have a certain degree of tact. In the Marine Corps, tact is one of the leadership traits most highly coveted and is defined as having the ability to deal with others without creating offense. In short, it’s NEVER good to lose your cool and to lash out at someone. And as a NBA player, a Marine or a community member, we are all role models for others….(like it or not Charles Barkley!) People are watching and learning from our actions. Not only have these two men set a poor example for others, but they have also reinforced the hate that exists for gay and lesbian men and women across the planet.

Acknowledge what you said was wrong and painful and leave it at that. Make no excuses. People make mistakes. Learning from those mistakes and changing is what is truly admirable and needed.

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