Chicago White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham is the latest to catch some heat after calling someone gay. It was during a game against the Kansas City Royals last week and Beckham inexplicably scrawled in the dirt: GETZ IS GAY! GB. The message referred to former teammate Chris Getz, who is now with the Royals. The White Sox front office was quick to respond with general manager Ken Williams saying:
But I’m just disappointed for this to come on the heels of the Kobe Bryant thing, and [Joakim] Noah, and, yes, a number of years ago, the issue with Ozzie [Guillen]. There just needs to be a greater awareness of when you’re in the public eye. Something between two friends meant as a joke? Well, you’re representing not just yourself, but your team, your sport, your family.
The organization didn’t do it. He did it. He should apologize for making us less than what we stand for.
Beckham gave a classic non-apology:
Obviously I apologize and kind of want to move on. Obviously it was meant as a joke but obviously it was in the wrong place and I didn't mean it that way. I will just try to move on.
Just because you use the word "apologize" doesn't make it an apology. The repeated use of "obviously" is to say: "You all are way too sensitive and you need to leave me alone. It's not my fault."
Certainly in the long list of homophobic or anti-gay actions we've seen over the years, this one ranks down near the bottom of importance or impact. Very few people saw it and it seems more sophomoric than offensive. But still, why Beckham thinks calling someone "gay" is a joke reflects the root of his perspective on gay people as weak or "less than." If he really doesn't think he has anything to apologize for, then he shouldn't apologize; Just let all of the insensitive people stew until he does think it's time for an apology. Otherwise, he might do well by showing a sliver of contrition.
Getz said he wasn't offended by the comment.