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Gem of recruiting class wrong to use slur in online video

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Posted: Monday, January 13, 2014 1:44 am | Updated: 10:07 am, Mon Jan 13, 2014.

Something is rotten in the state of Florida.

Through a tip given to the Alligator, I learned of a video posted on the social media website Vine that apparently showed UF quarterback Will Grier, a recruit committed to Florida at the time, yelling a homophobic slur at people in a locker room.

The video, titled “Lax es gay,” was posted on April 18, 2013, to Grier’s Vine account, which has more than 300,000 followers as of this writing. In the six-second video, the word, “f**,” is said 11 times before ending the video with the camera pointing at Grier as he says, “Lax is gay,” referring to the school lacrosse team his brother, Nash Grier — a Vine celebrity in his own right — plays on.

This is unacceptable behavior from Grier. The use of that word is not acceptable by anyone, let alone someone who plans to represent UF — on the football field or otherwise. A Florida spokesman said that while the program monitors its players’ social media accounts, he could not comment on the video when asked.

The word Grier, who enrolled at Florida last week, chose to scream at others has a history of being used to torment gay people for decades — if not longer — and it has no place in any type of civilized conversation.

You don’t have to be gay to disapprove of this word or be offended by its use. I’m not. However, I do think using slurs meant to demean a group of people is wrong.

Even if no one Grier yelled at is gay, he still took the next step of posting the video on Vine, a popular social media website that has millions of subscribers and an even further reach.

Chances are, someone who is offended by the word saw the video.

The clip has more than 11,000 likes, 4,600 “revines” and 700 comments. The most recent comment as of this writing came on Sunday. Clearly, a lot of people have viewed it.

Some people commented on the video to criticize the use of the word. One commenter said, “Maybe find another word to scream at people, yes?” One warned Grier that the use of the word might come back to hurt him if it drew attention. Another called him immature and said his parents would be disappointed.

However, most of the comments are debating the merits of lacrosse and how attractive Nash looks in the video.

Look, I understand that this is probably not an isolated incident in locker rooms. I’m sure if you put a camera in locker rooms around the country, you would find a lot of similar conduct. “Boys will be boys,” as the idiom says.

But “boys being boys” does not justify or excuse the use of offensive slurs.

When you take on a high-profile position, such as the anointed future quarterback at the University of Florida, like Grier has, you need to conduct yourself in a certain way. You are held to a higher standard.

If a random UF student was pulled over and was arrested for marijuana possession, it wouldn’t be interesting.

When a football player does it, they end up on the front page.

We in the news business call this “prominence.” Grier is a prominent person at UF, and everything he does for the next several years will be under the microscope.

Is that fair? You be the judge. But it is how the world works.

Grier is probably not a bad person. He might not even be a homophobe. I don’t know.

What I do know is that screaming out slurs and posting them online is not becoming conduct of someone who will likely be one of the faces of the Florida football team for the next few years.

Follow Adam Lichtenstein on Twitter @alichtenstein24

Ed. note: After this column was published, the video in question was removed.

Welcome to the discussion.

9 comments:

  • formergator posted at 4:38 pm on Wed, Jan 22, 2014.

    formergator Posts: 99

    Why is the author watching locker room vine videos? I'm not buying the someone sent me a link at the beginning of the article...

     
  • Itsmeclaireb posted at 2:21 am on Wed, Jan 22, 2014.

    Itsmeclaireb Posts: 1

    Oh no! Someone said the "g" word! How horrible!


    Write an article about something that matters. This is terrible journalism and writing style in general.

     
  • Snicklefritz posted at 2:58 pm on Thu, Jan 16, 2014.

    Snicklefritz Posts: 1

    Yet another example of shoddy journalism by the sorry excuse for a newspaper that is the liberal Alligator.

     
  • ksironen21 posted at 2:49 pm on Thu, Jan 16, 2014.

    ksironen21 Posts: 1

    why would this story even be run? This is just trying to start something. Dumb article.

     
  • Gatornaught44 posted at 3:20 pm on Mon, Jan 13, 2014.

    Gatornaught44 Posts: 1

    When you say "Someone somewhere will be offended by what he said", this is true and I'll give you that. I am actually offended, not by Will Grier, but by your entire article because you are violating Grier's Freedom of Speech and putting something that a kid said in the past into the public eye while casting a negative feeling towards him as he is just becoming a part of this team. Yes, Freedom of the Press is also a part of the First Amendment, but using your powers to slander a kid as soon as he comes to town is unethical and is a sign that you are a bad journalist who is looking to gain some notoriety by putting out a controversial article. There are other stories out there, taking shots at our team as they are trying to rebuild is low and not called for, we need to build them up and create hype for next year. I don't support gay marriage but honestly I could care less about it, our country has more underlying problems than that, but the media has made it seem that if you don't support it, than you are an arrogant bigot who needs to be slandered. This is wrong, just because I don't agree with you doesn't mean I am right or wrong, I am entitled to my opinion and can say what I want. But you are bullying this kid, because the entire media entity has a bigger voice than a single individual. Keep putting our articles like this, and we will boycott the Alligator much like A&E and Cracker Barrel were boycotted by Robertson supporters. We are tired of your left wing agenda making mountains out of mole hills, and bringing up things people said years ago.

     
  • CJgator posted at 2:40 pm on Mon, Jan 13, 2014.

    CJgator Posts: 5

    [beam]

     
  • backnblack92 posted at 11:59 am on Mon, Jan 13, 2014.

    backnblack92 Posts: 1

    @BrazRider Actually if you look at Davidson Day's lacrosse schedule this VINE couldn't have been recorded any later than May 2013. So Grier was a jr in HS and probably like 17 or 16yrs old when it happened (depending on when his b-day is). Kids make mistakes and say stupid shit when they're young.

     
  • BrazRider posted at 11:19 am on Mon, Jan 13, 2014.

    BrazRider Posts: 1

    The kid was 18 years old AT BEST. IN HIGH SCHOOL. Was it a dumb move? Yes, but is it that big of a deal that a high school student did something dumb? He's not even the UF quarterback yet.

    It's like calling Obama out for cursing when he was a teenager. Give me a break. He wasn't "representing UF" at that point in his life either, he was just a high school kid.

    It's funny how you give Grier more attention for hurting people's feelings than you'd give another player who got arrested.

     
  • anstro76 posted at 2:39 am on Mon, Jan 13, 2014.

    anstro76 Posts: 1

    This is supposed to be the "savior" of Florida Football? Jock mentality run rampant.

     
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