FanDuel - WFBC

March 25, 2012

Dynamo's Colin Clark Yells Anti-Gay Slur at Ballboy: Houston Dynamo midfielder Colin Clark, unhappy that a Sounders FC ballboy didn't toss a ball to him for a throw in, called him a "fucking faggot" right next to a field microphone that aired it on the NBC Sports Network broadcast during Saturday's game. "I'd like to offer a sincere apology to everyone who watched the game, especially the ball boy for whom I used awful language towards," Clark said afterwards on Twitter.

posted by rcade to soccer at 12:01 PM - 29 comments

Shameful.

posted by insomnyuk at 12:12 PM on March 25

There's ten thousand better insults in the world; in fact I think insults are one of the last bastions of the truly creative. I'm curious as to why "gay" and "fag" continue to be favorites. Not only are they unimaginative and dull, they also alienate a significant percentage of the population (and your fan base) and expose you as an atavistic cretin.

posted by tahoemoj at 02:17 PM on March 25

It's a pathetic thing to say.

Clashes with ball personnel remind me of the Tottenham ballboy against Famagusta in 2007 and the Chelsea kid who suckered Gerrard.

posted by rcade at 02:43 PM on March 25

I'm curious as to why "gay" and "fag" continue to be favorites.

Because until very recently, homophobia was a form of bigotry that was socially acceptable just about everywhere (as opposed to merely being acceptable in many places, as it is today).

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:36 PM on March 25

I don't know that "anti-gay slur" is the correct phrase. He didn't say "I hate gay ball boys." or "You are figuratively and metaphorically a ball handler." I think he used a gay-slur to express anger. A poorly chosen expression at that. How about something like "you are a terrible ball boy, maybe you should think about going to the NFL" or "stick to video games kid, you suck as a ball boy." that would have hardly made the "news".

posted by rmcrymple at 11:26 AM on March 26

I think he used a gay-slur to express anger.

Well, yes. And it's still an anti-gay slur, and it still disparages and fosters an attitude of disrespect towards gay people, even if the person it was directed at in this instance is not gay. It is a way of taking a person whose actions have angered you and sticking them with a label that signifies something negative, and in so doing, conveying your negative attitude towards people in that group: you pissed me off, so I call you the f-word, because it's a disparaging name for a group of people that I hold in contempt. Are you under the impression that the nature of the slur is somehow different depending on whether the ball boy is actually gay?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:42 AM on March 26

Without the anti-gay slur he'd still look like an ass for being rude to a ballboy, but at least he wouldn't be disparaging an entire class of people.

The point of raising an objection to an insult like Clark's is to make it clear that society no longer accepts calling somebody gay as a disparagement. My kids brought that habit home from elementary school a few years ago and we shut it down. As we told them several times to the point of tendentiousness, there's nothing wrong with being gay and that kind of talk is hurtful to people who are.

(Another word I'd love to see shunned is "nigga." It makes me cringe to see kids self-identify that way.)

posted by rcade at 12:10 PM on March 26

So since the Steelers traded Willie Gay to Arizona, If i boo him, am I gay basing??

posted by Debo270 at 01:00 PM on March 26

Debo, are you being deliberately dense?

posted by apoch at 01:08 PM on March 26

Yes I am.

posted by Debo270 at 01:10 PM on March 26

Fag, Queer and Gay all meant way different thing in the not to distant past and have evolved to something else today. As they are now used to "classify" a lifestyle, it's unfortunate that people turn to them as disparaging remarks as well.

But language is language. If the word "fag" or "retard" become synonymous with an insult, not representing what their true definition is, then who is to say the language evolution these phrases are taking should stop. Meaning is placed on words throughout time.

I've said "that was queer" when saying something is odd or out of place and people give me looks. That is their problem for thinking something else is referenced in that moment.

Not justifying what the player in question did, just giving perspective on language.

posted by rmcrymple at 01:22 PM on March 26

Well, since I'm pretty sure he didn't mean to call the kid a fucking pile of sticks, Colin Clark is a bigoted piece of shit.

posted by apoch at 01:24 PM on March 26

If the word "fag" or "retard" become synonymous with an insult, not representing what their true definition is, then who is to say the language evolution these phrases are taking should stop.

That is perhaps the nicest way to write something that thickheaded. This isn't a question of prescriptivism vs. descriptivism in linguistics. A word describing a group/ minority doesn't become an insult in the abstract, like there are two separate tracks of though that exist in a vacuum. None of the examples you cite became an insult before they were applied to a group.

posted by yerfatma at 01:33 PM on March 26

That is their problem for thinking something else is referenced in that moment.

If you're using a word that offends people, and you know why it offends them, I think the desire to be respectful would compel you to choose another word in the future -- even if you meant it innocently. Don't be niggardly in the respect you show others through your choice of words.

The term "faggot" never had an innocent meaning in the United States. It's always been a slur against gays here.

posted by rcade at 01:37 PM on March 26

rmcrymple, first welcome to SportsFilter. Interesting thread to start your time here...

You are correct that some of the terms being discussed here at one time did have different meanings. In the UK a fag is still a cigarette. Gay was used to mean happy. Queer meant/means odd. But language changes, and if it is used in a way to disparage another person then it wrong to use it. There is no way to argue that Colin Clark used the term faggot in any other way than as a disparaging term, and one that is frequently used in locker rooms and on the field of play to question another male players masculinity. A taunt, yes, but one based on the (incorrect) idea that being homosexual is wrong.

Some terms are reclaimed by groups within their own communities as a way to change their harmfulness. The dreaded "n-word" is one example. Queer is another, but one that was initially used to point out that homosexuals were different, or odd. Young people have started using "gay" as synonymous with stupid or uncool, and are finally being called out on it (no pun intended).

I am not fond of the direction this thread is going, and honestly not sure what sort of discussion can really come of it. But I am confident in saying that arguing semantics is not where it should be going, so let's all dial it down a bit please. Thanks.

posted by scully at 01:45 PM on March 26

I guess I learned in kindergarten that whole "sticks and stones" saying. It applies today more than ever. People will always have opposing view points, right or wrong. BUT it is how we learn to deal with the adversity or hate that comes with those view points.

We will always have bigots, racists, sexists, anti-semites, etc. etc. etc. It has always been and will always be.

Words can be hurtful, but you have to be able to roll with the punches, no matter how hard they hurt.

And I still don't understand how we try to hold professional athletes to higher standards on anything. They will continue to disappoint us if we do. They are regular humans with super-human ability or skill, not super human intellect.

Lets quit trying to expect them to change the world outside of their respective games.

posted by rmcrymple at 07:53 AM on March 27

And I still don't understand how we try to hold professional athletes to higher standards on anything.

Who's holding him to a higher standard? I would expect the same from anyone, especially anyone paid to perform in front of a camera.

posted by yerfatma at 09:02 AM on March 27

Well rmcrymple, I'm not holding this guy to a higher standard than I hold any other random strangers. Bigotry is not acceptable, for anyone. Just because there is a lot of history behind something that is wrong, doesn't make it acceptable.

posted by apoch at 09:05 AM on March 27

I guess I learned in kindergarten that whole "sticks and stones" saying.

I guess we all learned it. Post-kindergarden, some of us learned a more nuanced understanding of the nature and effects of slurs than others. Of course, it's pretty easy to stay with a five-year-old's understanding of things, the simplistic take that the effect of slurs is completely under the control of their target, if you're not the target.

We will always have bigots, racists, sexists, anti-semites, etc. etc. etc. It has always been and will always be.

Words can be hurtful, but you have to be able to roll with the punches, no matter how hard they hurt.

Do you seriously think that members of targeted groups don't know how to "roll with the punches"? Are you somehow under the impression that an anti-gay slur causes a gay person to collapse to the pavement, unable to function for the remainder of the day? If gay people couldn't "roll with the punches" of anti-gay slurs, they'd never make it to the corner store. And yet, whenever someone points out that something is an anti-gay slur, there are always some straight people who presume to lecture the thin-skinned helpless gays, imparting kindergarten wisdom, useless truisms about how there will always be bigotry, and armchair-quarterback advice about how to deal with it. Don't you think that someone who gets punched frequently knows a lot more about how to "roll with the punches" -- and when to say "Fuck you, stop fucking punching me!" -- than someone who doesn't?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:10 AM on March 27

I guess the view from my ivory tower is skewed from the glare of the golden coins surrounding my feet reflecting the sunshine from the clear blue sky into my eyes creating a false sense of what society has created.

Thanks for setting me straight everyone. Or should I not say straight?

posted by rmcrymple at 09:44 AM on March 27

So your first defense was that Clark's bigotry was just an expression of anger. Your second was that bigoted words have innocent non-bigoted meanings. And your third is that bigots will always be bigots.

Next, you should tell us that people who call other people bigots are the *true* bigots.

posted by rcade at 09:56 AM on March 27

I think we've been trolled.

posted by apoch at 10:04 AM on March 27

Too easy.

Racism, sexist, religion-ism are ugly. And this thread demonstrates that.

But posting a headline like "ANTI-GAY SLUR YELLED AT KID" or whatever, does nothing but perpetuate the issue.

Support the resolution of the problem, not the problem itself. How do we make it better, not worse? What can we do to change it for the better?

posted by rmcrymple at 10:29 AM on March 27

But posting a headline like "ANTI-GAY SLUR YELLED AT KID" or whatever, does nothing but perpetuate the issue.

Damn. Unfortunately, rcade, I think we can only give you partial credit for that one. Still and all, you called it pretty well.

Support the resolution of the problem, not the problem itself. How do we make it better, not worse? What can we do to change it for the better?

There are many ways, but generally it starts with calling out racist sexist homophobic and whatever bullshit for what it is. As someone who apparently has a big beef with that, it sure seems like you're not interested in being part of the "we", so maybe you should stop telling the "we" how to do it.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:44 AM on March 27

But posting a headline like "ANTI-GAY SLUR YELLED AT KID" or whatever, does nothing but perpetuate the issue.

"ATHLETE WHO SHOULD NOT BE TREATED AS A ROLE MODEL EXPRESSES ANGER AGAINST BALL BOY USING INNOCENT WORD SOMETIMES INTERPRETED AS ANTI-GAY BY PEOPLE WHO SHOULD LEARN TO ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES" was too long.

posted by rcade at 10:44 AM on March 27

"ATHLETE WHO SHOULD NOT BE TREATED AS A ROLE MODEL EXPRESSES ANGER AGAINST BALL BOY USING INNOCENT WORD SOMETIMES INTERPRETED AS ANTI-GAY BY PEOPLE WHO SHOULD LEARN TO ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES" was too long.

well done.

posted by rmcrymple at 10:51 AM on March 27

Isn't it wonderful that simpletons like rmcrymple can use all their brainpower to play with language and rhetoric to make political points they're unwilling to state plainly?

posted by billsaysthis at 01:41 PM on March 27

Baseball's Mr. Friendly 2011-2011 (not inclusive) John Lackey wants in on this action.

posted by yerfatma at 03:54 PM on March 27

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