Larry Johnson is a running back for the Kansas City Chiefs. He’s 30 years old, which for an NFL running back is when your career is on the downside. All the more reason for him not to do what he did not once, but twice, starting Sunday night.
On his Twitter account, he questioned the credentials of his coach. Then, in an exchange with one of his Twitter followers, he used an anti gay slur. He did it again Monday, brushing off reporters when asked to comment.
A 30-year-old athlete ought to know better. Hell, a 15-year-old athlete ought to know better. He’s apologized as follows: “I regret my actions. The words were used by me in frustration, and they were not appropriate,” he said through a spokesman. “I did not intend to offend anyone, but that is no excuse for what I said.”
Notice he didn’t apologize to the gay community.
The sporting press has noticed this mea culpa sounds a lot like the one he issued last year when he pled guilty to two counts of disturbing the peace.
Two separate and distinct memories crossed my mind when I read this story.
The first involved a guy I worked with in the post office in Manhattan. It seemed that every other word out of his mouth was an anti gay slur. “Sissy, homo, f@#&t” he would spit out, and often acted like it was funny. Not that my co-workers were particularly enlightened, but they avoided this guy at every turn. One night (I worked the night shift) I asked one of my co-workers what was wrong with this guy, why he seemed so casually homophobic.
He looked at me like I had three heads. “You don’t know?”, he asked. I shook my head. He said the homophobe was gay himself. I was dumbfounded.
Ever since then, I’ve questioned the agenda of people who use hate slurs.
The other incident involved a friend of mine who lived openly gay. His name was Donzell, and he’s since passed away. He was an ex-Marine drill sergeant, but not everyone we hung out with knew this of his career history. One guy in particular used to constantly ride him about his sexual preference.
We were on a long bus ride, and finally, Donzell snapped. He called the guy out, told him if he thought he was such a f@#^%t, how about they settle it with their hands.
The bully hadn’t counted on that. He tried to back down telling Donzell he had only been kidding, but for Donzell it was too little too late. He humiliated this guy with a string of expletives I won’t use here, to the point that he cowered to his seat, sat down meekly, and we didn’t hear another word from him on that bus trip. Afterwords, Donzell said “watch who you’re calling a f@#^%T, ’cause that f%^&#t may kick your a%$”.
Back to Larry Johnson. He’s been told to stay away from the Kansas City Chiefs while this whole thing is being investigated.
Do you buy his apology? If not, what should be his punishment?