ball boy slur

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Mar 28 23:20:53 UTC 2012

In my (or at least in my idiolect) a contemptuous name for somebody was an
"epithet."  A "slur" was a false accusation of turpitude or something

Over the past thirty or forty years, "ep[ithet" has been fading and "slur"
has muscled in.

Now "slur" has gone too far.,0,6398142.story

The Tweets that it's fanned are pretty stupid and idiotically racist, but
they're hardly "slurs." Typical:

does Rue have to be black not gonna lie kinda ruined the movie."

They're just "racial/racist remarks."


On Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 6:14 PM, Alice Faber <faber at> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Alice Faber <faber at HASKINS.YALE.EDU>
> Organization: Haskins Laboratories
> Subject:      Re: ball boy slur
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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
> > ESPN)
> >
> >
> >> 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
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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