Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat - Game Five

Hooplah Over “Slur” is Retarded


Lebron James and the Miami Heat get dispatched on their own court, on prime time TV against a Thunder team that didn’t even have Russell Westbrook suited up, and this is what we are talking about?

That’s retarded.

Of course there was no disrespect aimed at the “underprivileged” or the mentally handicapped. That wasn’t anywhere near the context of the conversation. When Lebron James was asked a question by a reporter about Kevin Durant’s improved ability to pass the ball, Lebron said, “That is retarded to me. Kevin Durant is great at being a passer.”

Lebron apologized for the comment and poor choice of diction, saying it is a bad habit that he is trying to break. You know, like the rest of us have when we are being interviewed after a game like this in our locker room by some giambroni who thinks his observation deserves merit. What Lebron should have said was, “That is stupid to me. Kevin Durant is great at being a passer.”

Then all of the stupid people out there, and their advocacy groups, would be demanding an apology. Including the card-carrying journalist who asked the question in the first place.

Retarded is a word. It is not a slur but an adjective which can indicate someone’s mental ability is slowed. By comparison, it is slower than those of your “normal” functioning adults. That word was hijacked and used to describe the mentally handicapped, as an attempt at using euphemistic speech. It since became associated with that demographic and by association, has become a “slur” word. Kind of like the word “gay” which once meant happy, fun. Just review the lyrics to the Flintstones theme song, and you’ll get the point.

Retarded has many meanings. In fact, when you are late, in Italian you say “sono in ritardo“. That has nothing to do with questioning someone’s mental abilities.

Was Lebron saying the journalist who asked that question was mentally handicapped? If he was, would it have been less offensive if he just stated as much – that question was for the mentally handicapped? At least he would be telling the truth – but no one seems to want that.

The Heat lost a retarded game to a guy who putting up retarded numbers against a team that has had a retarded run over the last few seasons. Was anything in that statement referring to the mentally handicapped, or just an attempt (albeit strange) at creating hyperbole? Regardless, it’s all retarded. Get off Lebron’s back. Start worrying about Justin Bieber’s deportation petition instead.