Pause and Think

Roy Hibbert said a wrong, dumb thing after Game Six. He also said it in the wrong place.
Share |

There’s a moment in the movie Manhattan when Woody Allen’s character, Isaac Davis, is arguing with his TV show co-workers about a bit that isn’t working. I'll leave the hems and haws and um's and eh's in there for enhanced Woody Allen flavor.

IKE: What…what has the-what has the censor got to do with it? It's empty. There's not, uh, there's not, uh, uh, any substance to the comedy.

PAUL: No, no, you don't find this insightful here?

IKE: Well, it's worse than not insightful. It's not funny. There's not-there's not a legitimate laugh in that.

DICK: (Pointing to the monitor) Oh, it's- That's funny. That's funny! Funny.

IKE: Why do you think that it's funny?

PAUL(Gesturing) Look at the audience.

IKE: There's not a-

DICK(Interrupts, pointing to the audience below the control booth)  Look at-look at the audience there.

IKE: (Listening to the audience laughter coming from the monitor) You're going by the-you're going by audience reaction to this? I mean, this is an audience that's raised on television. Their-their standards have been systematically lowered over the years. You know, these guys sit in front of their sets and the-the gamma rays eat the white cells of their brains out. Uh, you know, um, ya, I'm- I quit.

I couldn’t help but flash to that scene Saturday night at the moment when Roy Hibbert—who has been nigh-unstoppable in the series and Bart Scott-ishly intense in interviews—decided to go off script at the post-game press conference. At times, what he said was pointed and insightful; at others it was revealing, though probably not remotely in the manner intended. But like the joke that Woody was railing against, it also was not at all funny.

Hibbert began by railing against his perceived failures on the part of the national sporting press to recognize his achievements on defense, which—extreme compound profanity included—actually qualifies as safer ground than where he would go.

You know what, ’cause y’all motherfuckers don’t watch us play throughout the year, to tell you the truth. All right? So, that’s fine. Ya know. I’mma be real with you. And I don’t care if I get fined. All right? Because, you know what, we play, we’re not on TV all the time, and reporters are the ones that are voting. And, it is what it is. If I don’t make it, that’s fine.”

All well and good and, colorful choice of language notwithstanding, he’s not entirely wrong. If this postseason has proven anything, it’s that Hibbert uses every inch of his 7-2 frame to great effect as a deterrent at the rim and that his skills merited a spot higher than tenth in Defensive Player of the Year voting. His evisceration of Carmelo Anthony was the defining moment of Indiana’s dispatching of the Knicks; the degree to which he’s compelled the unstoppable force known as LeBron James into launching Chris Paul-esque floaters is nothing if not impressive. The Pacers indeed were not on national TV a lot, and awards tend to lag behind reality. The narrative that Hibbert is a dominant defender will certainly result in some shiny prizes this time next year.

If he’d stopped there, we’d probably be having a lovely conversation about the inherent biases players from small-market teams face. Unfortunately, he didn’t. So now we're talking about what came next.

The moment of offhand idiocy that cost Hibbert $75,000 and incalculable respect came in another fairly insightful bit of basketball talk, this time on the impressive synergy between the Pacers bigs and wings in throttling James and the rest of his South Beach cohorts. And then:

“I really felt that I let Paul down in terms of having his back when LeBron was scoring in the post or getting to the paint, because they stretched me out so much — no homo.”

So.

***

The gist of the "no homo" thing—and its less outwardly objectionable cousin "pause"—is an acknowledgement and disclaimer of innuendo. You take a rather innocuous comment not intended to have a sexual/homoerotic context, such as Hibbert’s “stretched out,” then drop in the "no homo" or "pause" to 1) acknowledge the unintended double-entendre and 2) highlight the unimpeachable heterosexuality of the teller, who is so hetero that he could never have considered the sexual connotation he just acknowledged dropping into the sentence.

On Sunday, Hibbert apologized—actually apologized, not the usual “I misspoke”/"if anyone was offended" falderal, both for his Agnew-style railing against the nattering nabobs in the media and the casual anti-gay bit. The NBA still came down with a $75,000 fine, a number in line with the six-figure penalties that Joakim Noah and Kobe Bryant incurred for similarly offensive statements.

What Hibbert said wasn’t funny or even clever; it was offensive and ignorant, and it was without a doubt the sort of thing worth apologizing for. But the strangest part may be that he said it at a press conference, a setting that, in sports and pretty much every other corner of society in which it appears, is defined by canned, pre-planned pointlessness and a détente grounded in mutual disdain—one shared by the question-askers and question-answerers for the whole corny routine, as well as the usual distaste on each side for the other. And yet this, which everyone involves acknowledges is a desert where insight or import is concerned, is still a thing we do: endless slices of processed meat, meaningless answers to formulaic questions, over and over. The various zombie-eyed incantations of “Both Teams played hard,” the idiot surges of “Coach, coach, tell us about…/How does it feel to…” is all white noise, but it is constant.

If it's easy to bemoan how fatuous and un-illuminating all this is, it's also worth remembering that they're scripted and predictable for a reason. The lesson to speak always and only in cliché that Crash Davis gave to Nuke LaLoosh exists precisely to avoid the clusterfuck Hibbert made for himself by straying from the script.

Implicit in this dim routine is the assumption that fans do not want to know or understand our athletes (or politicians, or anyone choosing to hold a press conference) any better than this. The canned statements and the meaningless pabulum and the finely honed merchandising/marketing pitches crafted by agents, PR flacks and team officials are a defensive maneuver—you'll notice the word "homo" does not appear at all in the phrase "one game at a time"—but also part of a bigger brand gambit that redefines these players as hypoallergenic and pre-sanitized consumable economic units. You don’t buy the jersey of a human being with flaws and quirks, or at least quirks that wouldn't work when slapped onto a plastic 36-ounce Burger King glass. You buy the jersey of an übermensch. If said hero “Isn’t a role model” as Charles Barkley famously opined, that's part of his particular brand strategy. Barkley was right, but he was right in the context of an awfully clever Wieden & Kennedy Nike spot. They were selling the idea that he can’t or shouldn’t be marketed and sold—an anti-ad ad. For a sneaker.

What these superhumans are actually like—what sort of human beings they actually are, how they might behave outside of work—is something fans want to know. The urge to befriend or bully famous people we'll never meet is grounded in the (false) sense that we know what they're about, what they're like. So here's what Roy Hibbert is really like—a big jock who sometimes makes homophobic, unfunny jokes, and laughs at them. This doesn't mean Hibbert is a homophobe—I don’t know the guy, and I’m not going to use an off-color remark to slap a scarlet H on his chest. We’ve all made dumb jokes that we’ve later regretted. Luckily, we did all this off-camera. Luckily, the perception of you or I as a human being isn’t going to be based on extensive media scrutiny directed at our gaffes. No one really cares what we think enough to record it. Roy Hibbert is not so lucky.

***

The thing is, Hibbert is the kind of player who some smart ad exec would surely attempt to shoehorn into a different model. He pondered wearing monocle to a press conference during the series against the Knicks because he thought it would be funny. He did a (funny) three-episode run on NBC's "Parks and Recreation" as himself, because he’s a fan. He reportedly harangued Lorne Michaels himself to lobby for the part.

Maybe that’s where Hibbert went wrong. "Parks and Rec" is a scripted show that has the feel of an improvised one; this is because the professionals involved in it are funny, and good at their jobs. Hibbert seems to fancy himself a man of comedy, for better or worse, and there was in his ill-conceived, ill-excuted, ill-everything press conference performance a sort of curdled attempt at a riff. He tried to improvise in the least free-form setting imaginable, a place where humor and individuality and the unexpected are the last thing anyone wants to see.

You can see this in the clip. He chortles to himself afterwards, happy with what he thinks is a real hoot of a line; “in the moment,” as the saying goes. But that’s how improv comedy works. You can’t plan a joke, because it’ll bomb every time. It’s a quick twitch muscle, and developing it is why improv classes exist. When it works, it works. If it doesn’t… well, "Parks and Recreation" employs editors whose job it is to leave the clunkers on the cutting room floor. Press conferences don't have those. The reason press events are so dull and rote is that everyone involved is responding to that reality by editing themselves. Everyone except Roy Hibbert, apparently.

None of this should minimize what Hibbert said, which was scorchingly dumb and gratuitous. And there are real-world consequences to the casual bigotry he expressed, beyond the tempest-prone Sports Twitter teapot. If you harbor the delusion that all this is so much PC hand-wringing, head over to the nativist idiot farm and faux-outrage manufacturing facility Breitbart Sports and check the comments on their ‘reporting’ of the story. Actually, don’t, they don’t deserve the clickzzz. But here are some examples:

This entire alleged "controversy" is so gay!

Lets abolish the Department of HOMOsexuality? This PC crap has gone too far. Take me to the damn Lions before I accept your deviancy!!

Black men are no going out like white liberal homos The imaginary world of homosexuals being embraced that the liberals have created doesnt exist. outside of their heads.
They tried to go after children in schools to force instill them with homo logic while their young and susceptible. That never works. They tried it with drugs, smoking and booze, ..their efforts just increased the usage.

Of course, this is worse. But these are anonymous commenters on a website that exists as a safe space for the worst people in the nation to be awful together and punctuate poorly. No one is listening to them, no matter how loud they yell.

Fining Hibbert is an absolutely appropriate response; his apology seemed sincere, and this isn't a mistake he'll likely make again. It will take time for our society to evolve to a point where “No Homo” seems as dated, unfunny and backwards as 19th Century depictions of African Americans; with some fits and starts, it seems as if we may be moving in that direction, which is good.

The NBA’s fine won’t hasten that, naturally. When the change comes, we surely won't learn about it at a press conference. We're not supposed to learn anything from those. That's not what they're for. If Hibbert and his peers learned anything from this, it's probably that.


Share |

Comments

write my essay for me free online
I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article.

LocalDallasLocksmiths.com
I want you to thank for your time of this wonderful read!!! I definately enjoy every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff of your blog a must read blog!

AAAConcreting.com
I discovered your site ideal for me. It consists of wonderful and useful posts. I've read many of them and also got so much from them. In my experience, you do the truly amazing.Truly i'm impressed out of this publish

working autoliker
Incredible posting this is from you. I am really and truly thrilled to read this marvelous post. You've really impressed me today. I hope you'll continue to do so!

what is chapter 13 bankruptcy
I’m excited to uncover this page. I need to to thank you for ones time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every part of it and i also have you saved to fav to look at new information in your site

I like viewing web sites which comprehend the price of delivering the excellent useful resource free of charge. Fetish

kitchen design
I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article.

irs ein
wow, great, I was wondering how to cure acne naturally. and found your site by google, learned a lot, now i’m a bit clear. I’ve bookmark your site and also add rss. keep us updated.

Wonderful blog post. This is absolute magic from you! I have never seen a more wonderful post than this one. You've really made my day today with this. I hope you keep this up Clash of Clans Hack

https://miappy.com/fortress-legends-hack/
Many thanks for the exciting blog posting! Simply put your blog post to my favorite blog list and will look forward for additional updates. Simply wanted to write down a word in order to say thanks to you for those wonderful tips.

I would also motivate just about every person to save this web page for any favorite assistance to assist posted the appearance. cheap custom t-shirts no minimum

BUY YOUTUBE LIKES
Buy immediately Instagram Likes, all Likes comes from Real and Active Instagram Users.

First You got a great blog .I will be interested in more similar topics. i see you got really very useful topics , i will be always checking your blog thanks. best steam mop

Amazing knowledge and I like to share this kind of information with my friends and hope they like it they why I do. chinook health center

I want you to thank for your time of this wonderful read!!! I definately enjoy every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff of your blog a must read blog! BUY SOUNDCLOUD FOLLOWERS

A good blog always comes-up with new and exciting information and while reading I have feel that this blog is really have all those quality that qualify a blog to be a one.I wanted to leave a little comment to support you and wish you a good continuation. Wishing you the best of luck for all your blogging efforts.
hampton bay patio furniture

I really do hope that you will continue this brilliant consistent work of yours. Cheers! BUY INSTAGRAM LIKES

Mmm.. good to be here in your article or post, whatever, I think I should also work hard for my own website like I see some good and updated working in your site.
buy facebook likes cheap

שיטת אול און 4
I like viewing web sites which comprehend the price of delivering the excellent useful resource free of charge. I truly adored reading your posting. Thank you!

פילינג לגוף
Many thanks for the exciting blog posting! Simply put your blog post to my favorite blog list and will look forward for additional updates. Simply wanted to write down a word in order to say thanks to you for those wonderful tips.

I like viewing web sites which comprehend the price of delivering the excellent useful resource free of charge. I truly adored reading your posting. Thank you!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jo3FB6omqU

חוק דפיברילטור
Your blogs further more each else volume is so entertaining further serviceable It appoints me befall retreat encore. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates.

סיינטולוגיה
I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article.

The Respect Principle PDF
Always so interesting to visit your site.What a great info, thank you for sharing. this will help me so much in my learning

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhBbPMX0zpw

I ‘d mention that most of us visitors are really endowed to exist in a fabulous place with very many wonderful individuals with very helpful things.

To say the truth I am very impressed by what you told. You share tons of interesting info, neat and excellent design you’ve got here. It’s certainly one of the most informative stuff on this topic I’ve ever read.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rHDAzvlPoI

mantra & stotra

Espiritworld is dedicated to Vedic Philosophy,Religion and Spiritual Solidarity, Culture and dissemination of the vast and timeless knowledge of our great “Sanatan Parampara” to the people of world.Espiritworld is now aiming towards a new direction, our focus now is the youth of the country and we are planning to rope in the youths to build a healthy spiritual nation. The youth force should be the driver of the nation today who can take us to new heights. Espiritworld is providing positive and rejuvenating content to its viewers across Globe.

When you sell an investment at a profit, you will owe capital gains taxes on the money you make. Fortunately, investors can take steps to minimize the capital gains taxes they pay and keep more of their money in their own pockets. Choosing the right kinds of investments, and choosing the right vehicles for those investments, are two ways to cut down on capital gains taxes without impacting the return on your investment. avoid capital gains tax on land sale

I discovered your site ideal for me. It consists of wonderful and useful posts. I've read many of them and also got so much from them. In my experience, you do the truly amazing.Truly i'm impressed out of this publish americans living in canada

AAA Concreting Dallas
The web site is lovingly serviced and saved as much as date. So it should be, thanks for sharing this with us.

buy facebook likes cheap
Your blogs further more each else volume is so entertaining further serviceable It appoints me befall retreat encore. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates.

Wonderful blog post. This is absolute magic from you! I have never seen a more wonderful post than this one. You've really made my day today with this. I hope you keep this up! cheap dresses online

Just pure brilliance from you here. I have never expected something less than this from you and you have not disappointed me at all. I suppose you will keep the quality work going on.
chapter 13 bankruptcy definition

bodrum escort
Your blogs further more each else volume is so entertaining further serviceable It appoints me befall retreat encore. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates.

I like your site. Superb submit. It is extremely precise, people ought to learn how to uncover just before they could uncover. lol i realize this particular appears funny nevertheless it is the majority of apparent.. dj turntables and mixer

Quality stuff may be the key to invite the users to visit begin to see the blog site, that’s what this site provides.
Shailandra Singh Sequoia

I’m happy I located this blog! From time to time, students want to cognitive the keys of productive literary essays composing. Your first-class knowledge about this good post can become a proper basis for such people.
Unlock Her legs PDF review

I want you to thank for your time of this wonderful read!!! I definately enjoy every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff of your blog a must read blog! tattoo shop in dublin

Awesome review, I am a major devotee to remarking on web journals to educate the web journal scholars realize that they've added something beneficial to the internet!.. Trust Flow Backlinks

I discovered your site ideal for me. It consists of wonderful and useful posts. I've read many of them and also got so much from them. In my experience, you do the truly amazing.Truly i'm impressed out of this publish facebook auto liker

escort bodrum
I want you to thank for your time of this wonderful read!!! I definately enjoy every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff of your blog a must read blog!

Your way to enlighten everything on this blog is actually pleasant, everyone manage to efficiently be familiar with it, Thanks a great deal.
0nline pay day loan

AAA Concreting Los Angeles

such an interesting article here.I was searching for something like that for quite a long time and at last I have found it here.

AAA Concreting Sacramento
I ‘d mention that most of us visitors are really endowed to exist in a fabulous place with very many wonderful individuals with very helpful things.

This is cool post and i enjoy to read this post. your blog is fantastic and you have good staff in your blog. nice sharing keep it up.
AAA Concreting San Diego

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cHjYYz7UkY
This is a wonderful article, Given so much info in it, These type of articles keeps the users interest in the website, and keep on sharing more ... good luck.

hi!! Exceptionally fascinating discourse happy that I went over such educational post. Keep doing awesome. Happy to be a piece of your net group. buy safe YouTube views

online book report writing
wow, great, I was wondering how to cure acne naturally. and found your site by google, learned a lot, now i’m a bit clear. I’ve bookmark your site and also add rss. keep us updated.

pay for essay writing
wow, great, I was wondering how to cure acne naturally. and found your site by google, learned a lot, now i’m a bit clear. I’ve bookmark your site and also add rss. keep us updated.

I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. voyance amour gratuite