The slang phrase “no homo” received significant attention this weekend after Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert used it during a postgame news conference on Saturday following Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. He was fined $75,000 by the NBA for using the phrase and cursing at the media. I imagine the bulk of the fine was for the “no homo” drop rather than the cursing. Some people do not understand the harsh fine or why Hibbert was fined in the first place. They also do not understand why “no homo” is offensive. I figured I would explain.
The impenetrable authority that is the Urban Dictionary says no homo is a “phrase used after one inadvertently says something that sounds gay.” No homo is “said to show that you aren’t gay after saying something that sounded gay.”
An example would be a football coach evaluating a player and saying that the player has a wide butt — which is generally a positive trait for players — and saying “no homo” afterwards to let everyone know that he is not gay despite praising the player’s behind.
The whole idea that someone would have to clarify that they are not gay stems from the perception that being gay is a negative thing. I realize that there are still factions of society who will argue that being gay is a sin or wrong in some other way, but I think most people feel that being homosexual is inconsequential.
Roy Hibbert probably did not intend to be homophobic when he said the phrase. He was probably just trying to keep up his street cred when he uttered it. (Being able to catch one’s self is like a game). Until now, he probably never thought about the root of the phrase and what it really means to gay people. Now that he has been faced with all of that, he has apologized.
Other NBA players have used the phrase “no homo” or even “pause” (which means the same thing) over the past few years and escaped a fine. Dwight Howard said “pause” on national TV in 2011. So did Chris Paul. LeBron has even been heard saying “no homo” during an interview.
Hibbert being fined shows us how much our society has changed in terms of attitudes towards gay people. People could get away with saying one of these phrases a year ago. I even thought it was funny when I posted a “pause” video on the site in 2007. But it’s 2013 now. And if an NBA player feels comfortable coming out as gay, then we should welcome and support him. And if people still think being homophobic is funny, then they are wrong. Because it’s not.