Just when I finally go on record as a quasi-fan of Billy Packer, he goes out and does something so moronic I wonder how the guy has made it this far in life.
If you didn't catch it, Packer used the term "fag out" in an interview. He maintains that he used the term in its proper context, which might be true, if taken literally. And, in true Packer style, he remains unrepentant, saying he'd use the phrase again if the situation called for it.
However, as a person who uses words for a living, Packer should understand the power that they carry. Using the term "fag" in any context is, at the very least, an excercise in extremely poor judgement.
What if Packer had said, "That player is such a faggot!" Then came back and said, "Oh, I meant it in the literal sense -- he's playing like a bundle of sticks." Would that be acceptable? Would Packer defend that?
Worse yet, would CBS continue to defend him?
A CBS spokesperson chalked it up to "generational" differences, and said that Packer used "a bad choice of words." The n-word also is "generational"; would CBS dare to defend an employee then? It fired Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder and Ben Wright for comments that could be considered "generational."
The difference is that Snyder and Wright made the mistake of going after African-Americans and women, respectively. Fortunately for Packer, he used a word that is only offensive to a portion of the American population that lives a life that much of the population disagrees with.
It shouldn't matter.
CBS would do well to at least censure Packer for his insensitivity. It's not like Packer doesn't have a well-documented history of insensitive remarks. Was it generational when he called Allen Iverson "one tough monkey"? Or when he said to a group of Duke students, "Since when do we let women control who gets into a men's basketball game? Why don't you go find a women's game to let people into?"
Most importantly, since when does being old get you a free pass?
Agree or disagree with homosexuality, there is no place in American lexicon for words whose primary purpose is to be hurtful. It's just unnecessary, no matter where you come down on this touchy issue. Packer should know better, and so should CBS.
Other thoughts on college basketball ...
- We're seeing more and more coaches electing to stay where they've got a good thing going, and that trend continued today with Billy Donovan electing to stay at Florida, and Rick Barnes electing to stay at Texas. I wondered why Donovan would even consider heading to Kentucky, where the scrutiny is unbelievable, and the resources would only be marginally better than what he has already in Gainesville. Watch him use the momentum of two championships and putting three players in the top 10 of the NBA Draft to swoop in and land Jai Lucas and Patrick Patterson, the last two McDonalds All-Americans still uncommitted.
- Speaking of those Gators headed to the draft, good for them. They've earned it, and they've got nothing left to prove. (Nice story here, by the way, on what Corey Brewer gave up to stay the first time.)
- I'm surprised by Bob Huggins' move to West Virginia, but I can hardly blame him. He grew up in the town and went to the university. Self-righteous people that think Huggins owes K-State something for hiring him out of purgatory need to check themselves -- that program is in far better shape than when he left, and it seems like fans had a good time winning this year. Assuming his players are going to class (not a safe assumption), it was a win-win situation for all involved, even if it was only for one year.