When he heard that former Georgetown University standout Roy Hibbert of the Indiana Pacers was fined $75,000 Sunday by the NBA for using a gay slur and also uttering an unrelated profanity during an NBA Finals press conference, GU junior Thomas Lloyd more or less shrugged.
It’s not that he wasn’t offended. He was.
But Lloyd also happens to be the president of GU Pride, the school’s undergraduate organization for LGBTQA, or Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Queer/Questioning and Allied students.
Here’s what Hibbert said when asked about defending the Miami Heat’s LeBron James: “LeBron was scoring in the post or getting to the paint ‘cause he was stretching me out so much – no homo.”
But what does “no homo” even mean, given the context of Hibbert’s quote?
“It originated in the music industry,” Lloyd says with a wry chuckle, “and it just spread everywhere. The phrase doesn’t even make any sense anymore. It’s just something you pepper conversation with. I think it’s like any vulgarity you might use, like the F-word or whatever.
“So the phrase, ‘no homo,’ a lot of people might not consider it vulgar but it’s still offensive even if people don’t perceive it that way when they use it. . .I mean, it’s unfortunate that the phrases ‘no homo’ or ‘that’s gay’ are still prevalent as a negative slur but really, it gets to a point where it’s not overt homophobia.”
Hibbert, who played for the Hoyas from 2004-08 and whose team plays at Miami tonight in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, issued the following statement through the Pacers:
"I am apologizing for insensitive remarks made during the postgame press conference after our victory over Miami Saturday night," Hibbert said in the statement. "They were disrespectful and offensive and not a reflection of my personal views. I used a slang term that is not appropriate in any setting, private or public, and the language I used definitely has no place in a public forum, especially over live television. I apologize to those who I have offended, to our fans and to the Pacers' organization."
Lloyd takes Hibbert at his word, and believes the Georgetown gay community does, as well.
“I mean, every friend I’ve talked to, it’s like, ‘Yeah, it sucks,’ but we brush it off,” he says. “It’s something you have to deal with. It’s sort of a very small incident compared to where Georgetown was a few years ago.”
He’s referring in part to the fall of 2009, when two students were assaulted near campus amid anti-gay rhetoric.
“Since then, the university as a whole has taken many steps in recent years to sort of fight back against the prevalence of the phrase we’re talking about,” Lloyd says, “as well as more insidious or under-the-surface forms of homophobia on campus.”
Lloyd’s ultimate take on Hibbert?
“It sucks that he used the phrase, and it’s unfortunate that people don’t really see how hurtful the phrase can be,” he says. “But we short of shrug it off as ‘This is what we’re still dealing with.’ ”