After a disastrous crash and burn out of the NFC wildcard playoff game this week, the Philadelphia Eagles are taking a necessary post-mortem on how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took them for a 32-9 thrashing.
That is, except for NFL cornerback Darius Slay Jr, who apparently has more pressing things on his mind in the days following the premature end to the Eagles’ Super Bowl dreams, a team who started the season out at the top of the leaderboard at a 10-1 standing — until they weren’t.
On Thursday, apropos of seemingly nothing, Slay posted on X, “It’s wild lol,” in reference to a post from former NFL wide receiver Cole Beasley giving a big thumbs down for guys painting their nails.
As people responded on X, Beasley engaged more, doubling down on the casual homophobia.
Kenny Stills, considered a supporter of the LGBTQ community who played wide receiver for several teams, pointed out that painting nails is like getting a tattoo.
Beasley ignorantly responded;
I disagree. Tattoos tell a story based on the image you get. Painted nails have no image. What exactly are you expressing? Cause I can only think of one thing. Lol https://t.co/oVJrdcdd42— Cole Beasley (@Bease11) January 18, 2024
Of course, some people do wear designs on their fingernails, including Duke basketball star Jared McCain. Others use the colors on their nails to share support for a community.
When former NFL star Dez Bryant weighed in, Beasley said they could still be friends, but that Beasley would give him shit about it.
Dez don’t tell me you’re out here painting your nails now. Lol we can still be friends but I’m def gonna give you shit about it. Haha https://t.co/JQsmYFWkAo— Cole Beasley (@Bease11) January 18, 2024
It’s casual homophobia so tired that it should barely even register in this day and age, but the banality of the comment in the face of such deep-set problems facing this team is just another expression of the personnel issues that made it increasingly difficult to cheer “Go birds” as this season has gone on.
Many others on the site, Eagles fans and antis alike, were quick to poke fun at Slay’s ridiculous comment.
“I bet dudes with painted fingernails would tackle,” one user chirped.
I bet dudes with painted fingernails would tackle https://t.co/XU6ot9d5kp— LIFELONG RAVENS FAN (@TiaNoTamara1) January 18, 2024
It goes without saying that the objection to men painting their nails absurd, and within sport there are plenty of athletes who wear their manicures proudly, purposefully pushing against the binary of gender expression in men’s sports.
McCain is just one example of a male athlete famous for his nail polish, and speaks openly about it and what that kind of self-expression means to him.
“At an early age I’ve always been told to just be myself, like I’m always just gonna be myself,” he told Complex Magazine last year.
“And as for the painted nails, I saw it during quarantine and I just started doing it. I never saw anything wrong with it like. I understand girls do it. I understand men have started to do it a little more recently, but it was just something I saw.”
Runner Daniel Vaca, soccer player Fabian Reese and baseball player Triston Casas are just a few examples of male athletes who feel empowered by painting their nails, and their visibility will have a lot more of a lasting impact on the communities around them than Beasley or Slay.
Hopefully by next year, Slay and the Eagles will have taken a thorough introspective look into improving their outlook both on and off the field — perhaps with a lesson in sensitivity training from a local 7-foot orange monster with a flair for the femme now and then.