Over the Top

Please note: The subject matter and language of this post may not be suitable for children.

The current issue of Sports Illustrated has an important article by Grant Wahl entitled “Over the Top,” which discusses the increasingly serious problem of extreme vulgarity and taunting on the part of college basketball fans. I’m glad that SI tackled this important issue and called for a higher level of civility at games. Surely nobody wants this sort of “March madness” in what has otherwise been an exciting college basketball season.

The article did, however, have what I consider to be a serious flaw. Amidst the wide range of obscenities and vulgarities that have been hurled at the players this season have been some derogatories synonyms for a homosexual man. The author seemed to capitalize on this aspect of the story, and at every opportunity called the epithets “homophobic” or “anti-gay.” Eventually he asks, “Why is homophobia so prevalent today?”

As I considered the article, and especially the references to homosexuality, several thoughts came to mind:

(1) Sports fans must be called to a higher standard of conduct. Even among otherwise upright adults, sporting events sadly can become opportunities for juvenile, aggressive behavior in which Judeo-Christian values get put on hold. Freeway driving can be another example of this. And then at college games we don’t just have upright adults, but mobs of intoxicated students that take away from the otherwise positive experience of inter-collegiate athletics.

(2) In examining the “psyche” of abusive fans, I think the more apt and generally applicable diagnosis is “jerk,” not “homophobe.” The fans are trying to insult the other team, not those with same-sex attractions. When a fan calls one of the players a mother f____, he is being vulgar and is not being insensitive to those who struggle with the Oedipus complex.

(3) The use of homosexual-related terms as a vehicle for verbal abuse is not a modern phenomenon. It was at least as prevalent during my childhood 30 or 4o years ago as it is today.

(4) Let’s face it, the reason these out-of-control fans disparagingly call the other team’s center a faggot is not because they have any insight as to the player’s sexual orientation, but because the term itself is derogatory. If it were a good thing to be homosexual, nobody attempting to insult another would call him a homosexual. The condition is not neutral, like hair color. Homosexuality is an undesirable disorder, and even drunken, obnoxious basketball fans know it. Let’s be clear–such name-calling is always wrong, as is any uncharitable speech or conduct directed toward those who do in fact struggle with same-sex attractions. But let’s also be clear as to why John Doe in the stands is saying what he’s saying. 

(5) This is just another example of the pseudoscientific use of the term “homophobic.” This term is widely used and misused in our culture. Rather than an “irrational fear of homosexual persons,” homophobia is generally used by gay activists to mean “any opposition whatsoever to the gay agenda.”

Many gay activists make no bones about rejecting Jesus Christ and the major religions in general. They have conducted a major campaign to link religious disapproval of homosexual behavior with violence against persons with same-sex attractions, equating it to racism and racial violence. Every chance they get they use inflammatory words such as discrimination, intolerance, bigotry, hate, and homophobia in referring to those who believe, on religious grounds, that homosexual acts are contrary to God’s law. Their implication is clear: Such religious zealots are the cause of anti-gay violence. And of course they’d love to blame the obnoxious behavior of some ill-behaved college students on an “unenlightened” view of homosexuality.

Of course, the fact is that those who commit acts of violence against persons with same-sex attractions are virtually never church goers. Christianity strongly condemns violence against persons with same-sex attractions.  In fact persons who engage in homosexual behavior are more likely to suffer violence from gay and lesbians than from others (a 1998 American Bar Association Journal article estimates the prevalence of domestic violence among homosexual couples to be 25 to 33%).

(6) It’s a shame that an article that raises a legitimate societal concern had to get derailed, intentionally or otherwise, by the politically correct “gay rights” agenda. It’s not that this article was that bad, but of greater concern is the inroads homosexuality continues to make in our culture. I feel the need to speak up on this issue, just as much as on the pornography issue–even when all we’re dealing with are some foul-mouthed kids.   

3 responses

  1. Thanks, Leon,
    You’re dead on with this! I especially appreciate your reference to all the anti-oedipalists. There really are too many oedipophobes (or is it oediphobes?) in our society.

  2. One wonders why the latent mysogony of some of these terms and vulgarities aren’t examined.

    What seems so obvious but then goes unstated is “homophobic” terms are just re-apporpriations of vulgarities used to talk about women, re-tooled to be used by men who are looking to defeat the other team and demoralize.

    Think about it:

    “I’m gonna make you my b****”
    “I’m gonna f*** you up”
    “Let’s show this c***-s****”

    This isn’t about insulting men who are homosexuals. (99% of these college athletes likely have no particular same-sex attraction – no one from Ohio State really thinks that the University of Michigan is fielding a team of homosexuals…)

    It is about calling other men “like women”… Snoop Dogg (the rapper, not the Peanuts pet) who has been repackaged as a reality-TV star summed up well a strong and prevailing sentiment in his remakably crude (and popular) “song” “Bitches ain’t shit but hos and tricks”

    This foul “gay slur” language is really just repackaging and retooling a dim view of women and a distorted view of sex and power.

  3. Leon Suprenant should be commended for his remarks on an article in *Sports Illustrated*. The average guy is more likely to be checking out the *Sports Illustrated* Web site than the CUF blog, and Catholics, to spread the Faith, must meet people–as the expression goes–”where they are.”

    Without contesting any of the good points made by Leon, Steve Eyerman, and A Simple Sinner, I’d like to add these considerations: generally, profanity is not a moral issue, and it’s not good to give people (especially young men) the false impression that it is. Young guys have more serious moral challenges to confront than always keeping their vocabularies free of locker-room or barracks language, the use of which has more to do with personality and situation than with ethics.

    If guys watching a football game react to a quarterback’s disappointing performance by commenting on his mishandling of the “fornicating” football, I hope that none of the practicing Catholics among those fans feels the need to mention the supposed sin of “cursing” in his next confession.

    Again, I’m not disagreeing with the valid points made in the above posts.

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