ball boy slur

Alice Faber faber at HASKINS.YALE.EDU
Wed Mar 28 22:14:05 UTC 2012

On 3/28/12 6:02 PM, Victor Steinbok wrote:
> In an incident in Seattle on Friday night, Houston Dynamo (soccer)
> player Colin Clark (a 2009 Colorado Rapids Humanitarian of the Year)
> yelled at the local ball boy what has been repeatedly identified in the
> press as a "homosexual slur". It's rather obvious what the most likely
> candidate is, but it took me quite some time--and moving from newspapers
> to blogs (Yahoo! Sports)--to confirm it. Even then, the reference was
> edited out.
>> Angered by a Seattle ball boy who didn't hand him the ball exactly how
>> he wanted before a seventh-minute throw-in against the Sounders on
>> Friday night, Houston's Colin Clark called the kid a "f***ing f****t."
>> The gay slur was picked up loud and clear by pitchside microphones for
>> the nationally televised match (video here -- NSFW language,
>> obviously), so everyone watching at home immediately knew what Clark
>> had done.
> Here's the video link (texted out from the quoted passage):
> There are some interesting details for the students of apologies, as the
> apology has been offered to the ball boy and "anyone who has been
> offended". I am not really questioning the sincerity of the apology, but
> I find it somewhat puzzling that even in run-of-the-mill sincere
> apologies we now get standard non-apology apology language. Furthermore,
> Clark offered the following line:
>> I didn't mean to disrespect anyone and am sorry for letting my
>> emotions get the best of me. It's not who I am and it won't happen again.
> The first part is a bit hard to swallow--it's quite obvious that, at the
> moment of utterance, he meant every ounce of disrespect that he heaped
> on the ball boy. Furthermore, if he lets his emotions get a better of
> him in the seventh minute of a 90-minute match this early in the season
> (not even into the second week) one has to wonder if it would be wise to
> let him play in overtime of a playoff game.
> Despite the apology, Clark has been suspended for three games.
> Here's the standard taboo avoidance dance from the report today. (AP and
>> Dynamo midfielder Colin Clark has been suspended for three games by
>> Major League Soccer and fined for directing a gay slur toward a ball
>> boy during Houston's 2-0 loss at Seattle last week.
>> MLS commissioner Don Garber also ordered Clark to attend diversity and
>> sensitivity training.
>> "Major League Soccer will not tolerate this type of behavior from its
>> players or staff at any time, under any circumstances," Garber said.
>> The 27-year-old apologized on Twitter and said he will say he's sorry
>> to the ball boy in person.
>> "I believe that he will learn from this incident," Garber said.
>> Clark is in his seventh MLS season, and second full season with the
>> Dynamo.
>> "First of all, I want to apologize for what I did during the Seattle
>> match. I had a chance to speak to the ball boy after the game," Clark
>> said. "I'm sorry to everyone who I offended with that term. I intend
>> to never use that word again in any context. There's absolutely no
>> excuse for using that word.
>> "What I said doesn't represent me. It was out of character and out of
>> line. I made a huge mistake by using those words, and I truly regret
>> that."
> Clark may learn from this, but how will anyone else, if they don't even
> know what taboo word had been used?

Not every web report of this was as circumspect as I first saw
this reported by; the link for the entry includes the slur
in question:

Alice Faber                                       faber at
Haskins Laboratories                            tel: (203) 865-6163 x258
New Haven, CT 06511 USA                               fax (203) 865-8963

The American Dialect Society -

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