Roy Hibbert apologizes for homophobic comment, should be fined not suspended

Much ado about 'no homo'

6/2/13 in NBA   |   Pat   |   5229 respect

May 30, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Indiana Pacers power forward Tyler Hansbrough (right) is restrained by teammate Roy Hibbert (left) during the first half in game five of the Eastern Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY SportsThe latest uproar in the NBA is about Roy Hibbert's press conference gaffes, in which he used a profanity in reference to the media, and then followed it up with a homophobic comment.

There are people on various ends of the spectrum regarding Hibbert's comments. The part where he refers to the media as 'you mother***ers' is pretty much a wrap. He said in the interview that he doesn't care if he gets fined for saying that, and trust me... he will.

The real issue is with him saying 'no homo' later in the interview. That's where many people differ on how it should be handled.

Some people are saying that Hibbert should be suspended for his anti-gay remarks.

Others (mostly on Twitter) are going so far as to say that Hibbert's comments weren't anti-gay at all.

The truth (and the most reasonable and proper response) lies somewhere in the middle.

There's really no logical rationale for saying that the phrase 'no homo,' in the context that it was used, isn't anti-gay. 'No homo' is a pretty common saying, generally used by young men who have said something that could be twisted or misconstrued into a sexual innuendo. They follow the near-innuendo by saying 'no homo,' to clarify that they weren't talking about homosexual activity.

The insinuation, of course, is that they believe homosexuality is an undesirable concept, and they want to distance themselves from it. That, by its very nature, is anti-gay.

With David Stern pledging to make the NBA a place where homosexuals wouldn't feel threatened and could be free to be themselves, the NBA clearly has to do something about this. They can't simply stand idly by and let it happen without some sort of recourse.

However, a suspension would be completely out of line and over the top, based on precedents that the league has set in the past.

In 2011, Kobe Bryant called a referee a 'faggot.' He was fined $100,000.

Hibbert's comments, in my opinion, are not quite as offensive as that. However, Kobe was basically caught on camera during a game, and people could tell what he said by reading his lips. Hibbert, on the other hand, made his comment at a press conference during the Eastern Conference Finals. The stage was much bigger.

If the NBA were to suspend Hibbert for game 7 of the ECF, it would go completely against the precedent that was set when Kobe was fined. It might be appropriate for Stern to specify that future comments of this ilk will be met with suspensions, but to suspend Hibbert would be unjust, in this case, based on the precedent that was set with Kobe.

Not only would it fly in the face of the precedent, it would also punish the Pacers and their fans more than it would punish Hibbert himself. It would also reflect poorly on the league, as it could be viewed as an attempt to ensure that the Miami Heat make the NBA Finals. That's obviously what the league wants anyway, since LeBron James and the Heat are a much bigger media draw than the Pacers, and a Spurs-Pacers Finals would likely bring disastrous TV ratings.

In order to be fair to Hibbert and also to fans of the league as a whole, the NBA absolutely CAN'T suspend Hibbert for this.

Since the comment wasn't quite as harsh, but the stage was larger than Kobe's comment, I personally believe it would be appropriate to match the $100,000 fine that was levied against Bryant. Then, on top of that, the league should apply an additional and completely unrelated fine for his use of profanity during the interview. They should, however, make sure that it's assessed and announced separately, since it's a completely different issue.

What are your thoughts on how the league should react?

In case you missed it, here are the videos from Hibbert's interview:



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6/2/13   |   Pat   |   5229 respect

justinruoss1 wrote:
Pat,

Thank you for your well thought out post about this current situation. I would refer you to a similar article written this morning about the same subject.

http://www.thenation.com/blog/174612/no-homo-no-way-suspend-roy-hibbert-game-7

I do agree with your opinion on setting a harmful precedent for future "homophobic slurs", but unfortunately you are off the mark some on the importance of this issue at this time. Obviously you are correct that the phrase 'no homo' can, in certain contexts, be used by people to avoid people taking a comment in a sexual way. But, the phrase itself was specifically created by rap artists to make offensive, anti-gay jokes in their lyrics, while adding the phrase to assure the listening audience that they are in fact not gay. The implication here is that saying 'no homo', in any context, means you do not want your audience to think that your said comment could be misinterpreted into anything that means you are gay. I cannot speak for Roy Hibbert intentions, but using the phrase in any context, means you do not want to be thought of as being gay. This is the problem with the argument. There are even some people going as far as saying that his comments were not even anti-gay. As you mentioned in your post that Roy Hibbert, intentions aside, said this during a nationally televised press conference and laughed immediately after it like it was some sort of joke. Hibbert chuckles and then smiles and continues on with his answer. Hibbert openly mocked the LGBT community, unprovoked, calmly, and then laughed about it. This is the problem. Some people are saying that everyone is over-reacting and the NBA "absolutely CAN'T" suspend Hibbert for game 7, referencing that it would rob the fans of a fair and exciting game 7. 

This is where the sports fan in yourself and the nation as whole needs to step aside and realize that this is a bigger issue than sports. One of the biggest problems that athletes and celebrities have in our current cultural climate is that everything they say will be, unfairly so at times, analyzed, scrutinized, and dissected endlessly on 24 TV and Sports shows. With that being said, there are hundreds, even millions of children and adults who will see this comment and think that it is ok to say 'no homo' because Hibbert wasn't being anti-gay, and the comment was 'harmless'. If the comment was so harmless, why has Hibbert and his coach already publicly apologized for these remarks? Hibbert even reached out to Jason Collins, who we all know recently announced that he was openly gay, to apologize for his comments. Hibbert obviously knows what he said was wrong, harmful, and anti-gay. Hibbert and the Pacers organization are in damage control mode as I write this. This is where the NBA can, and I think must, take this unique situation to defend the LGBT community and be the first major sport to openly penalize its 'employees' for anti-gay remarks. The only thing that fining a player like Hibbert does, is make the middle section of the paper, or attract a brief mention in an article on espn.com. Fines will not be talked about the next day, or next season. A fine will not stop another player from 'making a joke', at the expense of a community of people who already cannot enjoy the full freedoms of life in America that you or I can because of who they love. You could lose YOUR job if you made comments like this to your boss. Will you laugh alongside your children and when your seven year old son asks what is funny about Hibbert's 'joke'? Or will you tell him that that sort of joke isn't funny, and you should not say hurtful things? I think we can agree that a white player would certainly be suspended if he made an similarly toned racist comment then laughed about it, during an interview like this. A suspension will say that the NBA will NOT tolerate defaming remarks or any comment that insinuates the like. A suspension, in this case, will set the correct precedent that will lead to positive social movement in the correct direction. A suspension to Roy Hibbert may mean that in the future, a player does not have to 'come out' like Jason Collins, because it does not matter if he is homosexual or heterosexual. Now obviously some of this is hyperbole, but in the future will not be an issue. 

Now some may say why penalize Roy Hibbert, the Indiana Pacers, and NBA fans everywhere this comment? This is because maybe this country, and its leaders, will realize that sports is not the end all, be all of our society. If anything, sports may contribute to one of the many reasons we refuse to accept social equality, unless it affects ourselves. Thankfully, with or without a suspension to Roy Hibbert for game 7 on monday night in Miami, our society will move closer to equality for all people. The NBA just may be able to speed things up a little bit by taking a unique stand by having Roy Hibbert on the bench in a $10,000 3 piece suit. 

I understand your point of view, and I actually included a link to that very article in my post. I still disagree, however, and believe that the NBA's $75,000 fine levied against Hibbert sends a very clear message that this behavior is unacceptable, and the punishment fits the crime.

6/2/13   |   Phillygenius82   |   227 respect

justinruoss1 wrote:
Pat,

Thank you for your well thought out post about this current situation. I would refer you to a similar article written this morning about the same subject.

http://www.thenation.com/blog/174612/no-homo-no-way-suspend-roy-hibbert-game-7

I do agree with your opinion on setting a harmful precedent for future "homophobic slurs", but unfortunately you are off the mark some on the importance of this issue at this time. Obviously you are correct that the phrase 'no homo' can, in certain contexts, be used by people to avoid people taking a comment in a sexual way. But, the phrase itself was specifically created by rap artists to make offensive, anti-gay jokes in their lyrics, while adding the phrase to assure the listening audience that they are in fact not gay. The implication here is that saying 'no homo', in any context, means you do not want your audience to think that your said comment could be misinterpreted into anything that means you are gay. I cannot speak for Roy Hibbert intentions, but using the phrase in any context, means you do not want to be thought of as being gay. This is the problem with the argument. There are even some people going as far as saying that his comments were not even anti-gay. As you mentioned in your post that Roy Hibbert, intentions aside, said this during a nationally televised press conference and laughed immediately after it like it was some sort of joke. Hibbert chuckles and then smiles and continues on with his answer. Hibbert openly mocked the LGBT community, unprovoked, calmly, and then laughed about it. This is the problem. Some people are saying that everyone is over-reacting and the NBA "absolutely CAN'T" suspend Hibbert for game 7, referencing that it would rob the fans of a fair and exciting game 7. 

This is where the sports fan in yourself and the nation as whole needs to step aside and realize that this is a bigger issue than sports. One of the biggest problems that athletes and celebrities have in our current cultural climate is that everything they say will be, unfairly so at times, analyzed, scrutinized, and dissected endlessly on 24 TV and Sports shows. With that being said, there are hundreds, even millions of children and adults who will see this comment and think that it is ok to say 'no homo' because Hibbert wasn't being anti-gay, and the comment was 'harmless'. If the comment was so harmless, why has Hibbert and his coach already publicly apologized for these remarks? Hibbert even reached out to Jason Collins, who we all know recently announced that he was openly gay, to apologize for his comments. Hibbert obviously knows what he said was wrong, harmful, and anti-gay. Hibbert and the Pacers organization are in damage control mode as I write this. This is where the NBA can, and I think must, take this unique situation to defend the LGBT community and be the first major sport to openly penalize its 'employees' for anti-gay remarks. The only thing that fining a player like Hibbert does, is make the middle section of the paper, or attract a brief mention in an article on espn.com. Fines will not be talked about the next day, or next season. A fine will not stop another player from 'making a joke', at the expense of a community of people who already cannot enjoy the full freedoms of life in America that you or I can because of who they love. You could lose YOUR job if you made comments like this to your boss. Will you laugh alongside your children and when your seven year old son asks what is funny about Hibbert's 'joke'? Or will you tell him that that sort of joke isn't funny, and you should not say hurtful things? I think we can agree that a white player would certainly be suspended if he made an similarly toned racist comment then laughed about it, during an interview like this. A suspension will say that the NBA will NOT tolerate defaming remarks or any comment that insinuates the like. A suspension, in this case, will set the correct precedent that will lead to positive social movement in the correct direction. A suspension to Roy Hibbert may mean that in the future, a player does not have to 'come out' like Jason Collins, because it does not matter if he is homosexual or heterosexual. Now obviously some of this is hyperbole, but in the future will not be an issue. 

Now some may say why penalize Roy Hibbert, the Indiana Pacers, and NBA fans everywhere this comment? This is because maybe this country, and its leaders, will realize that sports is not the end all, be all of our society. If anything, sports may contribute to one of the many reasons we refuse to accept social equality, unless it affects ourselves. Thankfully, with or without a suspension to Roy Hibbert for game 7 on monday night in Miami, our society will move closer to equality for all people. The NBA just may be able to speed things up a little bit by taking a unique stand by having Roy Hibbert on the bench in a $10,000 3 piece suit. 

I appreciate your stance on this; however Roy Hibbert should not be suspended for it. Cultrally (particularly of people who are of his age) that's something that people say and is ok.. I'm guilty of it myself. However for a number of reasons; primarily because the league has previously set a precedent for such inflamatory language before. Hibbert clearly didn't mean in that manor,as to offend anyone. He should be fined so as to remind players that it's not an acceptable way to speak especially to the national press. but a suspension is not warranted. 

6/2/13   |   Scott   |   51984 respect

Accept his apology, fine him and move on.  

If I'm the Pacers, I have somebody pull young Hibbert aside and remind him that post game interviews are indeed broadcast live for everybody to hear and that you may want to think a bit before answering questions

6/2/13   |   justinruoss1

Pat,

Thank you for your well thought out post about this current situation. I would refer you to a similar article written this morning about the same subject.

http://www.thenation.com/blog/174612/no-homo-no-way-suspend-roy-hibbert-game-7

I do agree with your opinion on setting a harmful precedent for future "homophobic slurs", but unfortunately you are off the mark some on the importance of this issue at this time. Obviously you are correct that the phrase 'no homo' can, in certain contexts, be used by people to avoid people taking a comment in a sexual way. But, the phrase itself was specifically created by rap artists to make offensive, anti-gay jokes in their lyrics, while adding the phrase to assure the listening audience that they are in fact not gay. The implication here is that saying 'no homo', in any context, means you do not want your audience to think that your said comment could be misinterpreted into anything that means you are gay. I cannot speak for Roy Hibbert intentions, but using the phrase in any context, means you do not want to be thought of as being gay. This is the problem with the argument. There are even some people going as far as saying that his comments were not even anti-gay. As you mentioned in your post that Roy Hibbert, intentions aside, said this during a nationally televised press conference and laughed immediately after it like it was some sort of joke. Hibbert chuckles and then smiles and continues on with his answer. Hibbert openly mocked the LGBT community, unprovoked, calmly, and then laughed about it. This is the problem. Some people are saying that everyone is over-reacting and the NBA "absolutely CAN'T" suspend Hibbert for game 7, referencing that it would rob the fans of a fair and exciting game 7. 

This is where the sports fan in yourself and the nation as whole needs to step aside and realize that this is a bigger issue than sports. One of the biggest problems that athletes and celebrities have in our current cultural climate is that everything they say will be, unfairly so at times, analyzed, scrutinized, and dissected endlessly on 24 TV and Sports shows. With that being said, there are hundreds, even millions of children and adults who will see this comment and think that it is ok to say 'no homo' because Hibbert wasn't being anti-gay, and the comment was 'harmless'. If the comment was so harmless, why has Hibbert and his coach already publicly apologized for these remarks? Hibbert even reached out to Jason Collins, who we all know recently announced that he was openly gay, to apologize for his comments. Hibbert obviously knows what he said was wrong, harmful, and anti-gay. Hibbert and the Pacers organization are in damage control mode as I write this. This is where the NBA can, and I think must, take this unique situation to defend the LGBT community and be the first major sport to openly penalize its 'employees' for anti-gay remarks. The only thing that fining a player like Hibbert does, is make the middle section of the paper, or attract a brief mention in an article on espn.com. Fines will not be talked about the next day, or next season. A fine will not stop another player from 'making a joke', at the expense of a community of people who already cannot enjoy the full freedoms of life in America that you or I can because of who they love. You could lose YOUR job if you made comments like this to your boss. Will you laugh alongside your children and when your seven year old son asks what is funny about Hibbert's 'joke'? Or will you tell him that that sort of joke isn't funny, and you should not say hurtful things? I think we can agree that a white player would certainly be suspended if he made an similarly toned racist comment then laughed about it, during an interview like this. A suspension will say that the NBA will NOT tolerate defaming remarks or any comment that insinuates the like. A suspension, in this case, will set the correct precedent that will lead to positive social movement in the correct direction. A suspension to Roy Hibbert may mean that in the future, a player does not have to 'come out' like Jason Collins, because it does not matter if he is homosexual or heterosexual. Now obviously some of this is hyperbole, but in the future will not be an issue. 

Now some may say why penalize Roy Hibbert, the Indiana Pacers, and NBA fans everywhere this comment? This is because maybe this country, and its leaders, will realize that sports is not the end all, be all of our society. If anything, sports may contribute to one of the many reasons we refuse to accept social equality, unless it affects ourselves. Thankfully, with or without a suspension to Roy Hibbert for game 7 on monday night in Miami, our society will move closer to equality for all people. The NBA just may be able to speed things up a little bit by taking a unique stand by having Roy Hibbert on the bench in a $10,000 3 piece suit.