People have been cut for less from the UFC for comments like the one Nate Diaz made yesterday. It’s starting to generate momentum, being picked up outside of the usual MMA bubble, as Nate violated the first rule when finding oneself in a hole: stop digging.
comments to MMA Junkie that didn’t help his cause:
“Nate voiced a personal opinion about an incident that took place involving Bryan Caraway in which he chased Dana all over Twitter to try to get a bonus, which was taken away from Pat Healy, got the bonus, and then had the nerve to go back out there and bash the guy and talk s–t about weed-smoking and how much he hates it and how it’s wrong, which was, at best, a s–t move on his side,” Kogan said.
“Guess what? The word f—-t, at least in Northern California, and where Nate is from, means bitch. It means you’re a little punk. It has nothing to do with homosexuals at all. So when Nate made the comment that he made, he didn’t make it in reference to homosexuals or calling Caraway a homosexual. He just said it was a bitch move.”
“I’m sure some people got offended, and hopefully this article will explain what his intent was. But how people view it is how people view it. I can’t control that. His intent was not to make a derogatory term toward homosexuals. He used the word to refer to a punk or a bitch.”
Here’s the thing: it’s not that what Diaz said was necessarily wrong. We all understood what Diaz was saying: he didn’t mean to imply anything about Caraway’s sexuality and such. His intentions were pure, in the way a Diaz can have pure intentions for lack of a better word, but his word choice was obviously poor. We understood what he was saying in spirit. Its locker room talk, nothing more, and anyone who’s spent more than 30 seconds as an athlete in a real capacity understands his intentions. It wasn’t a hateful one towards the LGBT community; it was one born of ignorance that’s slowly going away but still exists, somehow.
I don’t mean to condone what he said, of course, but there’s a place where it comes from that anyone can understand.
His word choice wasn’t nearly as bad as Matt Mitrione’s “hilarious” comments towards the transgender community, of course, and what he said wasn’t as “hilarious” as Quinton “Rampage” Jackson showing people how to pick up women for sexual relations with chloroform. All three are equally bad life choices to make, of course, but in the long run his was the easiest to solve.
All Nate had to do was publicly apologize for his comments, send out a generic press release to all involved and probably attend sensitivity training. If he does that, and nothing else, we’ll have forgiven him in six months when he’s fighting on a Facebook prelim as final punishment. Professional athletes and high level celebrities wade through controversies like this fairly easy, usually, with apologies and counseling. Look at recent UFC fighters who’ve been fired, suspended or disciplined.
Miguel Torres, who really likes rape jokes apparently, did a mea culpa the first time he got fired for making them. So did Forrest Griffin and Rashad Evans, who joked about rape (again) and the Penn State child abuse scandal respectively. They all did their penance and apologized, publicly and profusely, and they’ve all subsequently forgiven.
Diaz, on the other hand, double downed with stupidity by letting his manager go out and try to explain his behavior instead of a blanket apology. If he would’ve come out and said “Nathan didn’t mean that in an offensive manner, of course, and recognizes that his poor word choices were offensive. He apologizes to Bryan Caraway for his hateful words and he’s going to seek to remedy his actions with some counseling as well as a donation to an LGBT charity” all is forgiven in a matter of months.
We understand what he meant, of course, but what he said was offensive and hurtful to a lot of people. “Fag” is akin to a racial slur; once you use it you can’t take it back.
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