Time To Grow Up

Roy Hibbert showed he has plenty of maturing left to do after his insensitive postgame comments on Saturday. (Getty Images)

Roy Hibbert showed he has plenty of maturing left to do after his insensitive postgame comments on Saturday. (Getty Images)

For someone who has grown up rapidly over the last few weeks, it was surprising and disappointing to see Roy Hibbert behave like a teenager late Saturday. He used words we hear dropped on the street and in a rap lyric, which society deems OK, but not remarks we often hear on live TV, even after a tough loss.

And yet, after one of the biggest wins in franchise history, when the Pacers beat Miami and forced a Game 7, Hibbert called reporters “MFs” for not giving him more credit as a defensive player, and then dropped a “no homo,” when describing his defense of LeBron James with teammate Paul George.

Huh?

Is that really you, Hibbert?

Aren’t you supposed to be smarter than this?

Hibbert was wrong for two reasons. First, the comments themselves. Second, for not recognizing his poor choice almost immediately. A mature person would’ve caught himself right away and within minutes if not seconds said, “You know what? I said something really stupid. Let me tell you what I really meant.”

Hibbert didn’t backtrack until much later, after social media went nuts, after the Pacers organization huddled up, after someone reminded him about Jason Collins, after Hibbert finally dislodged his size 18 foot from his throat. Only then did he issue this: “I am apologizing for insensitive remarks made during the post-game press conference … they were disrespectful and offensive and not a reflection of my personal views.”

The apology sounded sincere, and yet the NBA socked him with a $75,000 fine anyway. Just imagine, if Hibbert were a rocker or a rapper, he wouldn’t lose money because of those words. He’d make money. The record would go double platinum. There’s a double standard in society when it comes to athletes and entertainers, who are given “license to create,” which means they’re never called on anything they say.

Anyway, Hibbert reached out to Collins, who in April announced that he’s gay, and that’s all proper and good. Hibbert doesn’t have a history, that anyone can tell, of being homophobic. Maybe he just used street language at the wrong place and the wrong time. We’ve all been there. Every one of us. We just didn’t have a microphone and cameras recording it. That’s not to excuse Hibbert, that’s just the reality.

If he feels reporters are “MFs,” well, we can take that. We’ve got thick skin and been called worse. And none of us take it personally, anyway. But the other comment was misguided and unintentionally aimed at a group of people who’ve been historically discriminated against. They don’t deserve that. Collins shouldn’t have to hear that.

It’s just proof that Collins, and others like him who’d rather keep their preferences to themselves, must deal with these slights even in an age of greater acceptance.

In a strange coincidence, the Pacers and Hibbert are actually being applauded for the way they’ve reached the Eastern Conference finals, how they’re taking Miami’s best shot and how they’re growing up at warp speed. Remember, just last month, they struggled in the first round against the Hawks and Hibbert had a mild impact. And now, this happened.

But let’s separate basketball from character. Growing up on the court has nothing to do with growing up as a human. Hibbert is acing the former, but showed his true age with the latter.

17 thoughts on “Time To Grow Up

  1. The “anti-gay slur” bad…the MFers in the media…I think Old Roy hit the nail on the head. If ever a group deserved that moniker it was them. You guys will rake a guy over the coals but as soon as the tables are turned you cry foul. Roy Hibbert was absolutely right…you “experts” don’t watch his games and vote accordingly. It should be called the most visible or reputable defensive player of the year, not actual defensive player of the year. Do you and the baseball writers hang out because the Gold Glove awards are based on offensive stats, not defensive…maybe we need to reconsider who decides this….OR do your job and watch every candidate, not just the ones on the popular teams..Hibbert 10th in voting? Come on!!!

    BTW, MOST sports leagues are filled with men groomed to be athletes…nobody bothers with the people, so his ignorance is a reflection of the system

    • @JD: The Gold Gloves are voted on by managers and coaches, not the media. But yes, the media are pretty stupid.

      And it must be a slow news day, to write about something as boring as this.

  2. Please…..I think everyone is just a little sensitive. Seriously who cares what an athlete says. I would be much more worried about what the IRS is up to these days.

  3. It’s disturbing the world we live in. Homosexuality is condemned in the bible, but this era of society has not only turned their back on the word, they’ve rebelled and attempt to oust/decimate anyone who speaks/voices anything that sounds like it’s
    “detrimental” to homosexuals/homosexuality. The wake up call is coming.

    • and where is the proof that the bible is the truth? i care less about homosexuals, but i do care about people in a supposed “advanced society” still believing in iron age myths…

  4. Isn’t I proud??
    When a soldier is killed in the line of duty, his family eventually gets a
    flag and a note conveying sympathy and respect from the United States Government.

    When a Black pro basketball player announces he is gay, he immediately
    gets a personal phone call from the President congratulating him for his
    courage.
    Am I missing something?

    • Wow, way to repackage crappy right-wing talking points that everyone thought were dumb two months ago.

  5. There are missing children all around this country and we are talking about this!

  6. Except for some exceptions outlined by the Supreme Court, the 1st Amendment gives all of us the right to say exactly what we want and I’m not aware if anything I say must be politically correct. Personally, I’m homophobic because the lifestyle doesn’t pass muster from any angle.
    Having said that, homosexuals are free to say and do as they will as long as their actions don’t affect my life. Just like the IRS, a very active and vocal minority is attempting to violate our rights by stifling speech. I, for one, will continue to speak my mind. Hibbert didn’t say something wrong; he said something politically incorrect and forgot where his paycheck came from. Nothing trumps the Bill of Rights, at least not yet.

    • If Homosexuals had the right to do whatever they want there wouldn’t be anything to talk about. So I supposed you voted for gay marriage since it would not affect your life?
      “The lifestyle doesn’t pass muster”. What the hell is that? Oh..I know…ignorance.

  7. Mr. Hibbert gets paid to play basketball. Seems ridiculous this makes news

  8. What did Hibbert say? I don’t get the comment. Is he saying ‘No, homo’ calling the reporter gay?

    • i think the ‘no homo’ trend started in reference to admiring someone and jokingly remarking that you are not sexually interested in them.

      e.g., i love paul george. no homo.

      i put this in the same category as the sergio garcia comments. stupid and inappropriate. but not bigoted.

  9. This column shows that Powell doesn’t get it either. Powell was the one who made snarky tweets about Roy after he was kicking the Knicks around in round 2. Said something about it was the first time he seen Roy make a strong post move. The dude has been making strong post moves for years now, just not consistently. But to a person like Powell I guess it doesn’t matter unless Roy was dunking the ball ala Dwight Howard. Whatever. Stop trying to arrive late to the party as if you been talking up Roy as a player and a person all these years, Shaun.

    And how is it that the Pacers “struggled” against the Hawks and that Roy only had a mild impact? Go back and look at Roy’s numbers in that series. He was arguably the second most important player (and maybe the first during the majority of the wins) for the Pacers during that matchup. Oh, and for the struggling part, losing 2 out of 6 games to Atlanta isn’t struggling. A #3 seed that actually did struggle was Denver who could not beat Golden State even though the Warriors were without David Lee! I’d rather take the Pacers’s version of struggling thank you very much.

    And that just proves Roy’s point: the media HASN’T paid attention to Roy and the Pacers at all. The media has been dismissive of them while ESPN and TNT didn’t want to air any of their games during the regular season. Roy was wrong in the words he used and perhaps was even wrong to even whine about the lack of attention. But he was nonetheless right about how a piss poor job the national media did in covering one of the three best teams in the Eastern Conference for much of this season.