NOTE to READERS: There is some “bad” language below.
After a dominant performance in a win that further showed the world how great Roy Hibbert has become during the past month, big dude spoke to the media.
In doing so, he offered a rare window into how professional athletes really talk.
Most of the time, when talking to the press, these motherfuckers are guarded, remaining keenly aware of how their words will be conveyed when read in newsprint, where there are no vocal tones and body language to help convey meaning. Usually, these motherfuckers remember to erect a screen of say-nothingness that shields them from being misconstrued.
They talk as little as possible and say even less.
If makes the job of being a beat writer hard as balls.
How do you comb through all the bullshit lies and truth parsing that players spew and turn that into a story that makes any damn sense?
It’s the worst.
The fucking worst.
Remember that shit next time you have an issue with column written by Mike Wells or any of these other excellent, hard-working beat writers out there. The people they have to report about everyday almost never say shit that’s actually worth writing down. It is a job I have never done and never wish to.
But with two remarks after Game 6, Roy illustrated two things: why many fans will always want to know their favorite players more intimately and why others like to view athletes as cartoon characters they root for rather than the flawed humans they are.
In expressing one sentiment, Roy aptly summed up something many of us who write about the NBA on the internet already know: Some of the these motherfuckers in the media who vote for the end-of-season player accolades don’t watch near-as-shit enough basketball to have an informed opinion about who deserves those awards.
This came after some poor bastard — who was at work just before midnight on a Saturday — asked Roy why he finished so low (tenth) in the Defensive Player of the Year award voting.
Roy’s response may not have been aimed at the inquisitor directly, but he generally told everyone in the room that they, as a category of workers, can go fuck an beehive.
“You know what, ’cause y’all motherfuckers don’t watch us play throughout the year, to tell you the truth. All right? So, that’s fine. Ya know. I’mma be real with you. And I don’t care if I get fined. All right? Because, you know what, we play, we’re not on TV all the time, and reporters are the ones that are voting. And, it is what it is. If I don’t make it, that’s fine.”
Realest shit he’s ever said.
You gotta love the “motherfucker” drop. That’s that realness. That’s what really conveys his meaning.
For those of you who don’t like what he said, fuck off.
We’re all adults here. I’m sure there were a few elementary school students watching NBA TV or the NBA.com live stream where it aired, but put those little shits to bed next time. It was almost midnight for fuck-all sake.
I have adopted Lewis Black’s thoughts on this matter. Listen to him tell explain, in the above video, why you’re a wee bit oversensitive if you get squeamish when someone says the word fuck.
Some background about the video: Black was relaying the difficulty he once had while preparing to host the White House Correspondents Dinner, an annual banquet hosted by a comedian who ribs the sitting president, other politicians and media members in attendance. This was tough for Black because the event organizers wish for the show to remain civilized and without the use of so-called bad language.
Which led to this classic Lewis Black rant:
“There is no such thing as bad language. I don’t believe that anymore. It’s ridiculous. They call it debasing the language. No. We are adults. These are the words that we use to express frustration, rage, anger — in order that we don’t pick up a tire iron and beat the shit out of somebody.
“What do people say? What is the ‘good’language’ you’re supposed to use that’s supposed to help you overcome certain things? What do people say who don’t use those words? Somebody who, after 40 years, loses their job — is fired, let’s say? Or ‘let go’? And they lose their pension and their welfare and their benefits. They lose everything. Do they sit on the couch all day going ‘Oh, pussyfeathers. Sassafras, sassafras, sassafras’?”
Now that that shit is settled …
The other reason it was refreshing and enlightening to hear: Roy wasn’t lying.
The canned, expected, boring-as-shit answer to the question would have been something along the lines of, “I just try to get better everyday and don’t really worry about anything else. My teammates have helped me improve, and they’re the only people whose opinions matter to me.”
Which would have been a whole cargo van full of camel shit.
Finishing tenth in the voting obviously upset Roy on some level. He made that known. I now know that he cares about that and that he probably also cares that his team, one of just three left with a chance to win the NBA title, doesn’t get much media attention.
Players are rarely so candid. They rarely reveal emotions like that.
A few weeks ago, for instance, Conrad Brunner, a reporter with 1070 The Fan, asked David West a question about the media focusing almost entirely on the Knicks during the Indiana/New York series.
Here is the full transcript of that exchange.
Brunner: “Do you guys watch at all [the] national perspective, the national attention? It seems as though the perspective is: When you win, it’s actually the Knicks lose — the Pacers don’t have an influence on this series. Do you guys use that at all?”
David West: “Naaahhh. We can’t get caught up in that. We know who we are. We know what we’ve been all year. We’re just going to continue to keep that focus. We have an opportunity to go out and perform and play well; we try do to that and don’t worry if someone is patting us on the back or not. It’s not a big deal.”
Now, I actually don’t think West is lying here.
I think he’s shielding the truth a little bit, but I think he’s being straight up, by and large, about his own opinion on the matter. I’m sure the Pacers’ players have had discussions about this topic, their relative obscurity compared to other teams and Indiana’s lack of national exposure. But I gather that it’s not some shit he, personally, gives a flying fuck about, and it’s quite possible that it never came up as something the team would “use” as a rallying cry or whatever.
Either way, it’s a boring-ass answer — to the point that it was said on the record in front of more than a dozen reporters all hungry to find a unique angle on an over-covered series, and this is probably the first time the comment has been published anywhere by anybody. West went with typical athlete speak that isn’t interesting and reveals almost nothing.
I’m sure Brunner could have written a much more widely read story after that practice had West said something like, “Shit yea we use that to fuel us. Our whole mentality has been ‘Fuck the Knicks’ and now we’re like ‘Fuck ESPN,’ too.”
That’s closer to what Roy did.
He showed us how players actually talk when the microphones aren’t recording, and he did it while also talking like an adult talks. The lack of attention seems like a clear point of frustration for Roy, and he expressed that frustration like a grown-ass frustrated man would.
It was genuine, motherfucking moment. It’s the whole reason this daily routine of question asking happens: so that once or twice a season, something real will comes out. It’s why a lot of fans pay any attention to this stuff at all.
So who really cares if some uptight shitbirds are going to instead hype Roy’s genuine, motherfucking moment into his “motherfucking” moment?
I have less than zero fucks to give about an adult using an adult word in public.
It was his other comment that was I found disturbing.
It was his other comment that showed why hearing how players actually talk is something many fans might not want to ever do.
It was his “no homo” comment that was the problem.
Because “no homo” is part of the problem.
While describing how he tries to prevent LeBron James from scoring, Roy made an innocuous comment about basketball Xs and Os strategy. And in the midst of explaining, he said “no homo.”
If you’re not familiar with “no homo” as a comedic device, well, aren’t you a lucky sumbitch.
It has become a somewhat common phrase over the past decade that is used in the same manner as “that’s what she said,” a Michael Scott classic, but only when the sexual innuendo is homosexual in nature. After a man inadvertently says something that, through double entendre or euphemism, could be construed as a comment insinuating they are sexually attracted to another man, they say “no homo.”
This is done to ensure that people listening don’t think they like to fuck dudes, of course. Because that is a natural concern of insecure men who think being attracted to men is a weird, abnormal thing.
Here’s how a hypothetical “no homo” drop might go:
Steve: So if your car broke down, how did you get to the work?
Bob: John gave me a ride. No homo.
The rationale for saying “no homo” there would exist because Bob did not fuck John (give him “a ride,” wink wink), he merely was a passenger in his car.
It’s all very clever.
In another instance, it could actually be somewhat funny. But by and large it has just become something certain people say a lot even when there is nobody who would ever confuse the words spoken as having a homosexual context. That absurdity, for some “no homo” sayers, is part of the fun.
This video breaks it down well, explaining the general usage and how it became popularized in the early 2000s by the pink-clothes-wearing, heterosexual rapper Cam’Ron from Harlem. It, along with its sister phrase “pause,” has become a staple among many rappers.
Roy was apparently making a truly absurd attempt at “no homo” humor while discussing LeBron’s ability to score on the Pacers in Game 3. (Here it is on Vine.)
“I really felt that I let Paul down in terms of having his back when LeBron was scoring in the post or getting to the paint, because they stretched me out so much — no homo.”
I’m not exactly sure what dumb-ass comedy was going on in Roy’s head.
It’s certainly not very funny regardless. Not even as funny as that hilarious Bob hypothetical used above anyway.
More than anything, it just seems super juvenile, and perhaps Roy was doing a Super Troopers-like “meow” dare with himself during a press conference.
It doesn’t actually matter what the joke was supposed to be nor why Roy said it.
All that matters is that he said it.
There are only two real reasons that somebody would say something like that on television: They are a cruel person who likes to hurt the feelings of others or they don’t actually understand how their words will be heard by some people.
I don’t know Roy Hibbert, the person.
We have had a maybe two dozen conversations over the past three years, all about basketball. He almost certainly has no idea who I am, and these talks were — in every instance — short, at-work conversations for both of us. But he seems like a nice enough young man, and I have heard a ton of respected people say a ton of nice things about Roy’s character and values.
I also don’t know know Roy Hibbert’s feelings on homosexuality. If he harbors any negativity towards gay people, he has never made such feelings public, to my knowledge. Roy actually even supported, through a Twitter message, Jason Collins’ recent decision to come out of the closet.
Even lacking full knowledge, I don’t believe Roy, when he said “no homo” in public, in front of a giant global audience, meant anything derogatory. I don’t think he intended to ridicule or discriminate against a core aspect of millions of people’s lives.
He’s simply ignorant.
He doesn’t know what those words say about homosexuals.
To him, it was a playful joke, one that made him giggle probably more for its inappropriateness in that setting than for its actual humor. But to many others, it was an unnecessary reminder that mainstream society in the United States sees being gay as an abnormal, weird, negative characteristic that no man should want to associate himself with.
That is the foundation of “no homo.” It is telling listeners that, “in case you misconstrued what I said there, I just feel the need to point out to you that I am not homosexual, as that would of course be disgusting, and I am a normal, heterosexual man.”
It’s basically saying “don’t worry, bro, I’m not weird.”
As if there is anything strange or weird about a dude wanting to have sex with another dude.
That’s the implication.
It’s not a playful joke.
Maybe in your own circle of friends, in a private environment in which everyone knows that no ill will towards gay men exists, there is a place for that. It really just isn’t good comedy, but I understand that sex remains funny in that sophomoric way; its forbidden and this started as a Puritan nation and we still don’t show boobs on TV and it makes us giggle. So if you really can’t resist — hell, I mockingly drop a “that’s what she said” on occasion among close friends even though it has some similar, sexist overtones — go for it.
Really, try not to.
It’s basically the same a saying “it was gay” when giving your opinion of a bad movie.
It’s fucking dumb behavior. Really, really fucking dumb.
Just don’t say it.
If you absolutely can’t not say it cause it’s just so goddamn funny to you, sure as shit don’t say it out loud at a restaurant where people who don’t know your intention may overhear it and feel even further alienated than they already do while living in a society that makes them feel like weirdos just because of where they like to put their dick.
And for fuck all, if you’re ever on national fuck television, don’t say that shit under any goddamn circumstances whatsoever.
Are you fucking high?
Teenagers in this country slit their wrists over how difficult it is to be an abnormal sexual being living in a straight society. They jump off fucking bridges. They shoot themselves in the fucking head.
It happens all the damn time.
Is some kid going to kill himself because some insensitive NBA player said something that he found hurtful on TV? Probably not. Shit. I hope to hell not.
But saying “no homo” is part of the problem.
It’s normalizing the tolerance of making gay people feel abnormal. And that can destroy people over time as they are confronted by that societal belief with such frequency. It is ever pressent and never-ending, a constant drumbeat from everywhere, day after day after day.
Shit like this. Which I didn’t even seek out. It just appeared on my Twitter time line as I was writing this sentence. (Note to self: Must unfollow Huffington Post.)
This one instance of “no homo” may just be a drop of rain in the ocean of shit gay people have to deal with every fucking day.
But it’s part of the problem.
Don’t be part of the problem, Roy Hibbert. I don’t think you want to be. Shit, I don’t even think you know that’s what you just became.
But, fucking A, man.
Charles Barkley is right: You don’t have to be a role model.
But don’t go out of your way to fuck up some kid’s day who was just trying to watch a damn press conference.
That’s just straight-up asshole behavior.
Like those media members who didn’t watch you play all year and didn’t give you credit for being an elite defender, I presume this is all out of ignorance.
You don’t know any better.
Well, I’m not going to presume you’re reading this. But I’m guessing somebody, hopefully somebody employed by the Pacers, will explain all this to you soon. At least explain some version of why it’s wrong to say.
So now you know.
Don’t lose your candor, but speak like a man young fans — no matter who they want to fuck — can respect. Speak like a man who isn’t insinuating that dudes who fuck dudes are abnormal.
Cut the motherfucking shit.