Just last week Houstini reported that the Houston Aeros’ Justin Faintaine was handed a two game suspension from the Minnesota owners of the team after a homophobic tweet. Now the Houston Chronicle‘s Ultimate Texans Blog reports that Houston Texans lineman Rashad Butler is embroiled in a similar controversy.
“Butler made a crack about Kobe Bryant and referred to the Lakers star as No. 8. Of course, testy Lakers fans quickly responded with corrections because Bryant changed to No. 24 a couple years ago.
Butler shot back, but in his effort to call the critics jerks, like Fontaine, he used a word that is considered to be a gay slur.
“Like I said, Y’all F—— knew wat I meant,” he wrote in a tweet that has since been removed. (Screen shot here).”
No word on if Butler will face any sort of discipline from the team for his use of the slur.
Frankly, I’m not sure if he should. Assuming that the twitter account in question is Butler’s own and not some promotional tool set up and promoted by the team, his comments were clearly made off the clock and represent his own personal homophobia, which is his protected right under the first amendment. What is not protected by the first amendment is protection from public scorn. The use of hateful words meaning “gay man” to describe something the speaker finds stupid or distasteful is hurtful and contributes to a culture that tells LGBT people that they are stupid and distasteful.
Of course commenters on the Ultimate Texans blog are already deriding the fracas as “political correctness” run amok and defending Butler’s first amendment rights. But the same rights that protect Butler’s homophobia protect my right to call him homophobic )and if the comments sections on Houstini are any indication, protect the public’s right to disagree with me). Likewise the first amendment protects the right of Houston Texans fans to take to twitter and tell @RB2cool what they think of his constitutionally protected hate speach.
The first amendment cuts both ways.