Attention: because this piece is partly about the use of explicit language, explicit language is used..
Given the general level of emotion directed at Duke, there's
almost no point in writing about it anymore, but there are a few things which
are worth commenting on. We're going to start with what the Redick family
has put up with lately.
We have to say, we feel badly for them. They work hard,
they raise a kid who is respectful, studious, stays out of trouble, and who has
worked really hard to burnish a brilliant talent.
In short, we should all be so lucky.
So what happens? They go to Maryland last year, and their son
is cursed on national TV. Duke goes to Tallahassee this year where J.J. is
called a faggot. They go back to Maryland and hear their daughter
called a slut - their teenage daughter, for God's sake.
Then they go to Virginia Tech, which is pretty much in their
backyard, and get harassed and vilified, and to add insult to injury, are said
to have made the whole thing up.
You know, you don't have to be a Duke fan to understand this
is just wrong. The Redicks are solid, decent people, who have raised fine
children. Can you imagine having the kind of pride they must have in their
kids, only to hear thousands of people chant "fuck you J.J.?" Then to
hear "faggot" chanted at him in Tallahassee? Then to hear your
daughter maligned- those of you who have daughters, please consider this - can
you imagine how a teenage girl would feel? And if you don't have a daughter,
would you want your mother to have experienced this? Or any woman in your
Abby Redick should be able to go see her brother play, and so
should the rest of the family, without hearing her brother impugned, and
certainly without having herself dragged into it in such an incredibly crude
way. That's a level of
viciousness that is incomprehensible.
And then the VPI situation.
Who should have to put up with this just to watch their kid do
what he loves to do?
And before anyone writes and says, hey, who says fag is a
derogatory term, you have a point. It's a point preached on all the ACC
campuses, and nationwide, that we have come a long way towards accepting gay
people and not trying to force them into lives which make them deeply unhappy if
not suicidal, and by and large, we think there's a social consensus now that
sexuality is sort of off-limits.
Except, of course, on game day. And then it's perfectly
fine to call Redick a faggot or to call Danny Ferry Danny Fairy, as Tom Hammonds
used to do, or to taunt Christian Laettner for the rumors which once swept the
nation that he was gay.
Somehow, the social compact on campus, which has grown to
protect gays and lesbians, is tossed aside on game day. If a professor said from
his lectern that "so-and-so is a faggot," he'd be run out of town on a
But let the same students who would run him out of town get in
a gym with a Redick or Laettner, and at that point, the compact is forgotten,
and homosexuality returns to its traditional status as a condition to be
despised. The insinuation of homosexuality is supposed to be a terrible
insult, and so it is hurled at Redick, or Laettner, or whoever could dominate
The real insult, of course, is to the people on campus who
have worked really hard to overcome the stereotypes surrounding homosexuality,
and who may think real changes have occurred, only to go to games and find that
their schoolmates still have no love lost for them.
We feel terribly for the Redicks, who have seen their son
taunted as gay and their daughter basically called a slut, but can you imagine
that you were a gay student at FSU, who loved basketball, and then went to that
game and heard a fundamental part of your being dismissed as garbage?
For all the criticisms that Duke fans take, and the Cameron
Crazies in particular, they are a thousand times better than this.