10 April 2007

ESPN fags out on fagging out

SportsCenter has taken absurd taboo avoidance to new heights.

late last week, the big linguistic scandal in the sporting world was CBS commentator Billy Packer's comment in an appearance on PBS's The Charlie Rose Show in which he used the phrase "fag out" in reference to the fact that Rose never followed through on an offer to act as a runner at the NCAA basketball tournament. people who take such things far too seriously raised a huge outcry that the remark was a slur against homosexuals. ESPN naturally jumped on the story, producing both an online article as well as a brief segment on SportsCenter.

here is where things get ridiculous.

the SportsCenter segment proceeded generally as follows. the story was introduced, mentioning that Packer had used a potential slur on Rose's program. they then play the clip including the use of "fag out" in its entirety and unedited. shortly thereafter, a later quote from Packer justifying his previous statement was put on the screen. it read:

I said he fagged out on me and it had nothing to do with sexual connotation.... I can assure you I will use that phrase again and I won't think twice about it. My meaning is genuine.
and the anchor read it off of the screen as:
Quote: I said—...the phrase in question—and it had nothing to do with sexual connotation...
what the hell!? it's ok to present video footage in which the phrase was produced; display a printed quote in which the phrase is written out; yet heaven forbid a real human being should say it live on tv, even preceded by visual and aural reinforcement that he is quoting another person's words?

congrats, ESPN. you really fagged out on this one.

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