Sports

Baffoe: The Problem With Roy Hibbert’s ‘No Homo’ Joke

Roy Hibbert.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Roy Hibbert. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Tim Baffoe - clean background Tim Baffoe
Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa before earning his de...
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By Tim Baffoe-

(CBS) I enjoy watching Roy Hibbert play basketball. I enjoy watching Lebron James play basketball. I enjoy watching Roy Hibbert play basketball against Lebron James. In no way do I want to have sex with either of them, while they play basketball or otherwise.

You had a little record skip moment there, didn’t you? Really uncomfortable I made you, if even for just a split second. That last statement of the previous paragraph looks incredibly stupid, doesn’t it? Good.

See, I don’t feel compelled to let you or anyone else know that the things I enjoy are or are not tied into any aspect of my sexuality. Hibbert and a substantial number of people do, though, and that’s a problem, as is not enough people getting uncomfortable with casual homophobia like Hibbert’s postgame press conference Saturday night.

I can make this a column on why homophobia is a bad thing, even if there is zero malicious intent as I believe the case with Hibbert is, but that horse has been ridden and beaten past death. (That is not a gay innuendo, by the way.)

There will be enough of that writing to go around, along with the connection to Jason Collins’ coming out and “Think of the children” and “Why weren’t other players fined?” and his apology that isn’t really any more of an apology than is what you tell the cop that pulled you over for speeding and what have you. I could get into the psychology of all this, expounding on how someone like Hibbert feeling he has to qualify benign statements with an affirmation of his heterosexuality is really an overcompensation for deep-seeded repressed homosexual tendencies, and now I may not be able to look at Hibbert ever again without questioning his sexuality even though no matter what that is has no bearing on my life whatsoever. Doing any of those things would be so g… overdone. No, instead I’d like to focus on how lame a phrase like “no homo” is.

Jared Wade breaks down a bit of the etymology of the phrase nicely in a piece that is full of lots of profanity so that if you click on the link you cannot say I didn’t warn you:

“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 engage in sexual activity with 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 engage in sexual activity John (give him ‘a ride,’ wink wink), he merely was a passenger in his car.

It’s all very clever.

Dane Cookian in its profundity, really. What needles the crap out of me—that is not a euphemism, by the way—is not just the inherent bigotry of the phrase. Not the “let me rank myself above homosexuals here” aspect. It’s that there’s no creativity to it.

The very sound of it conjures up visions of two frat bros clanging cheap beers together while saying it. “I TURNED SOMETHING COMPLETELY NONSEXUAL INTO A SEXUAL JOKE BECAUSE SEX AND STUFF AND YOLO AND NOW I SHALL WATCH WORKAHOLICS.” It’s fodder for people obsessed with memes as high humor.

But YOLO status—a phrase so lame that it has ceased to be able to be spoken with any credibility of sincerity—is not what “no homo” has reached, at least for many stupid people. There were many people that heard Hibbert say that and responded somewhere between sophomoric giggles/fist pounds (not a euphemism, by the way) and indifference. They, along with Hibbert, need to be shamed for not only their bigotry, mild as it may be to some, but also their affront to intelligent humor. Brevity is not the soul of wit in this case. It’s the soft, chewy center of the assclown. (I’m totally not referencing homosexuality, by the way.)

For example, a guy in the sports world who is no stranger to otherwise good Internet humor, Bears tight end Martellus Bennett, shared his thoughts Sunday night on the matter.




But, see, it is, Martellus. Maybe not to you, but to a community of people who have long had to suffer through words that hurt it is a big deal. I’m talking about purveyors of intelligent humor, FYI. There is a bit of forgiveness involved in mocking a group of people if the mockery is genuinely creative and ignorance is understood to be absent in the humor. I’m Irish American. The Simpsons has made fun of the Irish on more than one occasion. Have I been offended? Hell no, because what they did was genuinely funny and creative.

(Do not think that I am suggesting everyone go out and hone their comedic skills by floating various racial or sexual joke trial balloons out into the world. Being self aware enough to understand if people find you funny or not is key. Roy Hibbert? Not a guy I turn to for poignant topical humor and, thus, might want to avoid gay jokes. A postgame press conference? Not the best audience for yuck-it-up bigotry.)

And calling it not a controversy just because you don’t care doesn’t make it any less controversial. That’s merely avoiding an issue because it makes you uncomfortable. That is how the American stain of bad humor is allowed to avoid the wash over and over again. I prefer to point out what is dumb so that a good public shaming can correct it.

Maybe Bennett should follow his own words from Monday morning, as should Hibbert and all of us when it comes to being thoroughly unoriginal and consequently unfunny.

That should include fighting the good fight against terrible jokes, bigoted and otherwise, even if it’s merely pointing out how stupid they are.

And even after writing all that, I still don’t want to have sex with Roy Hibbert. Just so you know. Because I’m afraid you may have been thinking that since I wrote 1,000+ words about him and need to let you know otherwise. That’s the joke.

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Tim Baffoe

Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa before earning his degree from Governors State University and began blogging at The Score after winning the 2011 Pepsi Max Score Search. He enjoys writing things about stuff, but not so much stuff about things. When not writing for 670TheScore.com, Tim corrupts America’s youth as a high school English teacher and provides a great service to his South Side community delivering pizzas (please tip him and his colleagues well). You can follow Tim’s inappropriate brain droppings on Twitter @TimBaffoe , but please don’t follow him in real life. He grew up in Chicago’s Beverly To read more of Tim’s blogs click here.