A Little Late for April Fools, No?



One man. Two boys. Twelve kids.

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47 Responses

  1. Avatar Kolohe says:

    That’s what happens when you go into a press conference half-cockedReport

  2. Avatar Notme says:

    I wonder if this mean that the n word has entered in to a post racial phase in its lifespan as a word and now generally refers to someone you don’t like regardless of race?Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Notme says:

      Would that it were so. Perhaps people of certain degrees of epidural melanin content exercise their license to use that word in such a fashion, when it suits them to do so. Those of us with an insufficient amount of epidural melanin, however, are best counseled to refrain from following this example.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Notme says:


      In my experience, the word can mean a number of things based on context. It can identify solidarity with another individual (akin to saying, “You’re my boy, Blue!”) or simply identify someone as a human (akin to saying, “This guy over here…”). My hunch is that Harrison used it in the latter context.

      I have seen it used as a term of denigration in different ways, but never towards a white person.

      Harrison was essentially saying the equivalent of, “Fish that dude.” And my hunch is that Kaminsky, as someone who has grown up playing basketball, has heard the term plenty and probably had it directed at him in similar ways (as either a part of a more general insult such as it was used here or simply as a turn of phrase) and I doubt took offense to its usage. In fact, were he to be offended, it was probably more about the “Fuck” part than the N-word part. So what is really strange about this is that the comment was probably a non-start for everyone involved but because of the media and broader culture, Harrison felt compelled (or was pressured to) offer an apology.

      And I say that as someone who grew up in a town with a predominant Black population and attended a high school that was majority Black. I was often the only white kid on the basketball court. I got called that word all the time in various contexts and if Harrison directed at me what he directed at Kaminsky, I wouldn’t have needed an apology. As far as trash talk goes, that is about as weak sauce as it gets.

      And yet, here we are… a Black dude apologizing to a white dude for using the N-word. Again… sigh…Report

      • Avatar Notme in reply to Kazzy says:


        What is wrong with him apologizing for using the word? You act like he shouldn’t have to or that he should get a pass on it since he is black. If it is a bad word then no one should use it or we should all use it.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        No. That’s simply wrong.

        If he felt bad about it, by all means, he should apologize. But my hunch is he didn’t and that he’s used that word in that context numerous times about folks of all color without incident but because this was caught on tape, now it’s a thing.

        Note: You can use the one if you want. No one here is saying otherwise. Whether you should is a different question. If someone — or some group of people — tell you they are offensed by your use of the word, countering by pointing out that they aren’t offended by other people’s usage is faulty logic. You can choose to honor their request, but you cannot choose for them whether they should or shouldn’t be offended.Report

      • Avatar Notme in reply to Kazzy says:


        So you dont have to apologize if you dont feel bad about it? That seems like a strange attitude. Sorry i fail to see how ot can be a bad word for some but not others.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        My wife likes when I call her Sugarbutt. She’d be detested if anyone else did. Is Sugarbutt a bad word?

        Apologies absent remorse are hollow.Report

      • Avatar Dand in reply to Kazzy says:

        @notme @kazzy
        George H.W. Bush had to apologize after he call Jeb’s(half-Mexican) kids “the little brown ones” even though they weren’t offended by it.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        I don’t like that “apology” either and would put it into similar territory as this one… though that one is even more problematic because we know that the kids weren’t offended. We’re not certain that Kaminsky wasn’t… I’m hypothesizing.

        It’s just odd to me that Harrison apologized publicly. I’m curious who among the public were offended to the point of justifying an apology.

        Of course, if Harrison was genuinely moved to apologize of his own volition, he absolutely should. My hunch, based on my own experiences, is that we would have heard nothing of this if it wasn’t caught on audio, even if Kaminsky caught wind of the comment. Again, far worse things (albeit not necessarily racially tinged) are said on the basketball court every day.

        I’m all for people making a genuine mends when they have erred. I’m just not all that certain that that is what happened here. And am even less certain that that is what happened with the Bush family.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Kazzy says:


        That he had to apologize was ridiculous. There is no doubt that “brown” there was as non-judgmental as if he’d said “tall”.Report

      • Avatar Notme in reply to Kazzy says:


        Last time i checked, sugerbutt isnt considered as offensive as the n word even if you dont know the person. There are some words i dont think anyone needs to be using and no one should get a pass.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

        Unfortunately (for you), you don’t get to decide for everyone. You get to decide for yourself. Use the word or don’t… Just accept the consequences.Report

      • Avatar Notme in reply to Kazzy says:


        Fortunately for us all you dont get to decide who gets a pass.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Kazzy says:


        Nor do you.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:


        Of course, if Harrison was genuinely moved to apologize of his own volition, he absolutely should.

        I think he was, actually. He called him personally to clear things up. But my guess, along the lines of what you’ve been saying, is that Kaminsky understood that it he wasn’t the victim of a personal insult, but rather basketball frustration. Kaminsky kicked Kentucky’s ass.Report

      • Avatar ScarletNumber in reply to Kazzy says:

        because of the media and broader culture, Harrison felt compelled (or was pressured to) offer an apology.

        Of course he was compelled to apologize. You think public apologies are sincere?

        a Black dude apologizing to a white dude for using the N-word. Again… sigh…

        Goose, gander, etc.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Kazzy says:

        I don’t think that there’s much wrong with expecting a basketball player to apologize for saying “Fuck that nigga” in a press conference. It could simply be the case that the f-word and the non-slur version of the n-word are both inappropriate for a professional setting.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Kazzy says:

        What’s your basis for saying the apology is for using the N-word?

        Can you cite a single post-game press conference in a game of this profile of any ind where a player or coach just up and said “Fuck [player on other team]”? An apology would clearly be in order.

        That said, while there are arguments that the N-bomb was not a huge problem in itself, I certainly wouldn’t call this an appropriate context for it even absent a “Fuck that _____” preceding it. As I say below, those who do defend its usage in places like *on the court* I believe are at pains to say they do so based on an understanding that there are places for it, and there are places where doing it is harmful. I’m guessing to the event an apology is needed just over the N-word part here, it’s to people in the community of people for whom using this word remains something to at least not just fold on (I don’t want to characterize their arguments).

        Regardless, it’s certainly a complicating factor, and if Kaminsky *did* take offense to it (I agree that it’s unlikely that he did – to any part of the outburst), he’d be well within his rights to to do, given the insulting, angry spirit of the overall sentiment.

        For that matter, a black person who is called that by another black person, on the sweet or in the locker room at the gym, or anywhere, would also be *within his rights* to take offense. It’s not the norm to, but I don’t think anyone denies that it’s a vulgar, freighted term, and anyone who individually doesn’t want to be called it in any context and takes offense to so being is utterly reasonable in feeling that way.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Kazzy says:

        …on the street, not on the sweet.Report

  3. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    All I know is last night ruined a perfectly good post about the Wildcats I was going to post after they won Monday night.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Maybe? They beat the two teams I root for for unabashed passion, the Duck and the ‘Heels.

        Part of me wants them to pull the Cinderella card with Duke because… well, because underdog and because Duke. The other part wonders if I shouldn’t be rooting for some kind of retribution for making me cry in my beer twice during the tournament.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Burt Likko says:

        It’s a pick ’em game and they’re both 1-seeds. There’s no Cinderella here. I’m hearing more money is going behind Wisconsin than Duke, too, so it’s not even clear they’re not the favorites.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Tod Kelly says:


      I’d still be interested in reading that piece, even if it has to have a different ending. I assume it would be more than X’s and O’s and would offer an interesting take on the Caliparia-era Wildcats and what he/they mean for NCAA basketball more broadly. If I am correct in that regard, consider this my gentle nudge to pen that piece anyway.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      @tod-kelly What was the post going to say?Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Will Truman says:

        @will-truman @kazzy I don’t think it would make a very good post at this point, but I was going to say something about how the Wildcats were the most dominant team that you should root for for being underdogs.

        Everyone talked about how they could beat lower tier NBA teams, but they always say that about college teams in any sport that do well. (A it’s always hyperbolic and ludicrous.) But the truth is the Wildcats needed some luck. As I was going to show with YouTube video (if I could find it) there were several games prior to the Wisconsin game where their opponents had a chance to win with the last possession — and where the Wildcat defense broke down enough to give those teams wide open shots. The shots just didn’t fall.

        The Wildcats weren’t like other teams sports writers said could best NBA teams I remember, like Ewing’s Hoyas, Michigan’s Fab Five in 1991 or the UNLV team that had Johnson and Augman. They came to their impressive and record breaking string of wins the way underdogs defeat goliaths: they out-hustled their opponents, didn’t give into the temptation to sacrifice defense for overpowering offense, and refused to let any player be the “star.”

        They were a team that everyone should have been rooting for.Report

  4. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Maybe we could just agree that his n-word privileges have been revoked and leave it at that?Report

  5. Avatar Kolohe says:

    There would have been some kerfuffle over the swearing anyway. i.e. just saying “F[ish] that guy” instead of “F[ish] that [n-word]” would have been noticed and replayed on Deadspin and Fark (but probably not the local sports roundups). An even bigger kerfuffle would have ensued if Harrison would have muttered “F[ish] that [f word that also means a bundle of sticks or a british cigarette]”Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Kolohe says:

      Or a British public school student who does menial jobs for an older student.

      “I really looked up to him when I ***ed for him. He seemed to have really adult tastes, like French ***s. Now I just think he’s a fishing ***.”Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kolohe says:


      And I think that points to the difference between the n-word and the f-word. They’re not perfectly analogous. Which is okay.Report

  6. Avatar ScarletNumber says:

    I wonder what Yoko Ono thinks.Report

  7. Avatar Damon says:

    Ok, so let me get the lay of the land now…

    It’s always ok for blacks to use the N word on folks that are black, either as a slight, or as a compliment.
    It’s never ok for white guys to use the N word toward blacks.
    It’s sometimes ok for a black guy to call a white guy the N word, but the context matters.

    And if you want to “Just accept the consequences.” feel free to be anyone and use it anyway you want? Ah, but the consequences depend upon who you are, how much power/influence you have, your race, and a million other factors. That’s clear as mud. MLK would be proud.Report

  8. Avatar j r says:

    Here is the definitive answer. The n-word is actually two words: the -gga n-word and the hard r n-word. They mean different things. Anytime you hear someone using the word as a slur, it’s most likely going to be with the hard r. And anytime you hear someone using the word “nigga,” there is a good chance that it is not about race.

    Generally speaking no one should be dropping hard r n-bombs, unless of course you just want to be the kind of person who uses racial slurs. If that’s the case, have at it. As to whether you should be using the -gga n-word, that is easy as well. If you have to wonder whether you’re the kind of person who should be saying “nigga,” don’t. If you were, you would already know.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to j r says:

      While some people are probably not the “kind of pe[ople]” who can ever say it, I think it’s better for everyone to think in terms of “is this the kind of situation in which I should be saying “n-gga?”. And then for some, the answer will be “No, because I’m not the kind of person who should ever be saying n-gga,” while for others it might be “No, because while I might be the kind of person who could potentially say n-gga and be okay in some contexts, this is not one of those times.”Report

  9. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    Not sure he apologized only or many for the (an) n-word. He said “F*ck that” …n-word at a national press conference after a Final Four game. There’s plenty to apologize for in that… largely to his own university and fan for embarrassing them (but I would think to Frank as well, as I genuinely believe Harrison respects and maybe even likes Kaminsky).

    As to whether he should apologize specifically for the n-word usage, that seems like something of an in-group discussion. My impression is that those in the community of people to whom it is important to preserve the use of this word (the -a version) in certain contexts are not too happy with this usage. To the extent he owes an apology for it, I would think it’s probably to that community of people. OTOH, I don’t get the impression that, however okay it would be for him to say that in various contexts, that he meant it in this case in any kind of way that’s appropriate for this context. Even if no n-word had been uttered, a display like that in this context i wholly inappropriate and completely deserving of an apology by the person who made it to the person against whom it was made. (But as a general matter, what is the ostensible principle here, anyway, that black people in general needn’t apologize any time they wan tho call a white person a n-gga in anger in public? I don’t think we actually think that.)

    I also don’t really hold any of this against him too much, since it was very under his breath and clearly not meant to be head. t’s not a huge deal. But it was said and heard, so you apologize and move on. It’s not a big deal, but that doesn’t mean no apology is necessary.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

      …”Fuck that n-gga,” calling someone else that and saying what he wants to happen to him, not “Fuck that, n-gga,” meaning “To hell with that, compadre,” or, at worst, “To hell with that, [guy I don’t like].”

      …I don’t know. Who the hell knows exactly what he meant the word to mean about Frank. Maybe it was a term of respect. But context would suggest otherwise. Overall, the sentiment clearly was not a kind one.Report