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.