Tampa Bay Buccaneers player Carlton Davis apparently got in trouble for a racial slur towards Asians and then appeared to be quite indignant and defensive about it afterwards. What happened is he went on Twitter and wrote, “Gotta stop letting g***s in Miami.” Now that sounds pretty bad especially in the context of all that’s going on right now. It’s sort of like Steven Crowder re-enacting George Floyd’s killing for social media in the middle of the trial being aired. On the other hand, it’s not as bad if you were used to the word meaning something else.
When I first heard he said, my mouth dropped. I think even the people who use the word know better not to do it now of all times. Anyway, he went on Twitter and posted a definition he found on UrbanDictionary saying, “A term commonaly [sic] used in South Florida to describe a person who is Lame. Synonym for Lame, wack, Fool or Stupid.” He added, “I would never offend any group of people. You reporters can look for another story to blow up. The term was directed towards a producer claiming he ‘ran Miami.’ With that being said I’ll retire that word from my vocabulary giving the hard times our Asian family are enduring.”
Now I’m not from Miami so I’m not going to say whether this is some regular slang down there or not. One critique to the handling of racist acts in the public sphere that I’ve heard Don Lemon criticized is the sentivity training that’s all too common these days. He feels either you get it or you don’t. But that’s the problem, racism is often rooted in ignorance. In a case like this where the person generally thought a word had a different meaning, are they to be punished for eternity? I mean, that’s a slur I’m certainly not used to hearing.
Davis has since made a statement saying, “I used a term that from where I come from has always meant ‘lame’ but I did not realize it has a much darker, negative connotation. I have learned a valuable lesson and want to apologize to anyone that was offended by seeing that word because we need to focus on helping each other during these tough times.”
His team’s General Manager Jason Licht has put out a statement on moving forward with Davis saying, “Words carry weight and it is incumbent upon all of us to have a thorough understanding of the words we choose and the effect they may have on others.”
“We look forward to working with Carlton to find appropriate ways to learn from this experience and continue our joint efforts to put an end to all forms of social and racial injustices.” They also stated that Davis is active in their social justice group so at least he’s making an effort. Here’s to hoping he does a little bit better with what comes out of his mouth.