San Antonio Spurs star Tony Parker has apologized for using a gay slur during the semifinals of the 2013 European basketball tournament this pass weekend. As reported by Outsports on September 22, Parker, who is playing for home country France, used the gay slur to describe how his team was playing.
Parker used the French word “tapettes” which translates to sissy, pansy, fairy or fag. He may not have intended the use of the word as a direct insult to anyone gay, but words do hurt and it is important to lead by example for youth who may be looking up to players like Tony Parker which is why he issued the following apology:
“I’d like to apologize to the gay community. I didn’t not want to offend them. If I have offended the gay community, I apologize it was not my intention at all. It is not right to say what I said. I’m sorry and apologize.”
Tony Parker does sound sincere and it should be noted that he was supportive of NBA player Jason Collins when he came out as gay over the summer.
Parker tweeted his support at the time:
“Really hope people will RESPECT Jason Collins for his decision to come out. Just glad he can now relax and not be afraid to be who he is.”
Parker’s use of the slur may be seen as an oversensitive reaction but during a time when bullying is at its height and reports of athletes in sports being afraid to come out because of team reaction, words like these contribute to emotional abuse. Sometimes they can hurt more when they aren’t intended.
Parker’s team did go on to beat Lituania for its first European title.