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Gordon Beckham calls Chris Getz gay

Jul 9, 2011, 1:48 PM EDT

Gordon Beckham AP

But it was all in the name of love.

With the White Sox and Royals playing earlier this week, Gordon Beckham decided to leave a message in the infield dirt for his fellow second baseman, former teammate and good friend Chris Getz.

“GETZ IS GAY! GB”

It never got picked up by the tv cameras, but fans noticed and a controversy has slowly been brewing.

“Wow,” Beckham said when asked about it by Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times. “Chris is one of my best friends. It was a joke. I didn’t know anybody could see. I didn’t mean anything, you know?”

Of course, it didn’t. Beckham didn’t intend any harm.  But it was a stupid act, and in the times that we live in, any major league baseball player should know better.

White Sox GM Ken Williams agreed:

But I’m just disappointed for this to come on the heels of the Kobe Bryant thing, and [Joakim] Noah, and, yes, a number of years ago, the issue with Ozzie [Guillen]. There just needs to be a greater awareness of when you’re in the public eye. Something between two friends meant as a joke? Well, you’re representing not just yourself, but your team, your sport, your family.

The organization didn’t do it. He did it. He should apologize for making us less than what we stand for.

Beckham did apologize through the Sun-Times, and he’ll probably have to apologize at least a couple of more times before the issue melts away.  He appears to be terribly embarrassed by the whole thing, and it’s clear he won’t be making any similar mistakes again.

  1. rskelley9 - Jul 9, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    Hey Ken Williams,

    Noah and Bryant screamed “Fag*ot” on national television while Beckham called his long time friend “gay” with a message in the dirt. One of these words– the one used by Bryant and Noah– is a slur associated with serious emotional/physical harm against gay people while the other one is simply the word used to label their sexuality and/or mildly call a straight male friend effeminate.

    Good job at not downplaying the issue and protecting your young second baseman… This is why Guillen– yeah the guy that won you a World Series– hate your guts. What an awful GM.

    • The Common Man - Jul 9, 2011 at 2:39 PM

      You’re splitting hairs and trying to justify behavior that should be unacceptable in the public sphere (and that is distasteful in the private sphere). Kenny Williams’ comments were spot on. Beckham was essentially saying that being gay is something it’s ok to tease someone about. That its funny when you call someone gay. That being gay is funny. I don’t find that funny. I find that stupid and immature. I’m glad Beckham apologized, and I take him at his word that he won’t do something equally stupid in the future.

      Also, if the most embarrassing thing that Beckham can come up with is “Getz is Gay”, I worry he’ll never be smart enough to be a quality player in this league.

      • The Common Man - Jul 9, 2011 at 2:50 PM

        If you thumb me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine. Go ahead, make an argument.

      • sawxalicious - Jul 9, 2011 at 3:10 PM

        What Beckham did was immature, but he was only joking. RSKelley9 hit the nail on the head…Beckam didn’t yell out Fa***t or “Homo” or N****r or any other hateful words that are intended to harm. I think that if people are getting mad at Beckam for playfully calling his friend gay, what are they saying about gay people? These days playfully calling someone gay is like calling them a dork or a nerd. That is how the English language has evolved. Deal with it. We cannot live in a world where everyone has to watch every little thing they do to avoid hurting someone else’s feelings, nor should anyone go out of their way to try to take offense to every little thing others say or do.

        This “incident,” if one wants to refer to it as that, is simply one friend playfully making a joke with a friend. It is, and should be considered a nonissue. If you want to be the PC police, go right on ahead…

        Judging Beckam’s intelligence and baseball prowess with information from this story is stupid, but you have the right to your opinion. If you want to insult his baseball prowess, there are plenty of statistics out there for you to call him out as a dork or a geek.

      • The Common Man - Jul 9, 2011 at 3:25 PM

        “We cannot live in a world where everyone has to watch every little thing they do to avoid hurting someone else’s feelings, nor should anyone go out of their way to try to take offense to every little thing others say or do.”

        That’s what jackasses say so that they don’t have to stop acting like jackasses. In reality, we censor our speech all the time, based on the situations in which we find ourselves. You talk to your boss differently than you talk to your friend, and you talk to a crowd differently than you would your child. If there ever was a time to censor yourself, and to not act like an idiot, it’s in the middle of a baseball diamond with a crowd of 35,000 people watching.

        “I think that if people are getting mad at Beckam for playfully calling his friend gay, what are they saying about gay people?”

        First, this sentence makes no sense, but I know what you’re trying to say. I think that people mad at Beckham are saying that they don’t think gay people should have to endure a word that defines them used as an insult. And yes, language changes, but it’s ok to push for language to change differently than it currently seems to be.

        Finally, I hope all of this is clear, because I have a hard time communicating with anyone who cannot identify sarcasm.

      • ksbuff - Jul 9, 2011 at 5:17 PM

        Based on the number of thumbs down Common has received here I’m afraid I’ll appear like I’m piling on, but here goes.

        Common, please refrain from all future uses of the word “Frenchy” when referring to Jeff Francoeur. As a person of French descent I find it offensive when that word is used in a derogatory manner. Or we can all grow up a little bit, realize it wasn’t said with malice (see: Kobe and Noah) and move on.

        Oh, and can somebody please explain why Frenchy didn’t win the fan vote? Seriously, the guy has a fan base in 3 markets and he misses the game!

      • The Common Man - Jul 9, 2011 at 6:28 PM

        Thumbs down? Who cares? What does that mean? That people don’t like what you have to say but can’t think of anything to say back.

        As for Jeff Francoeur…You’re comparing apples and oranges. If Francoeur asked fans to stop calling him Frenchy, I absolutely would. Or if Frenchy was being used to denote something stupid or lame, I absolutely would (especially given how easy it would be to simply apply the name for a lame player to everything that is lame. As it is, he seems to like the name, and it’s only being used to refer to him, I see nothing wrong with it. I do, however, see something incredibly wrong with using the word for one group of people to mean lame or stupid. Indeed, substitute in the word “Jew” into the phrase, “that’s so gay” and tell me that it’s not offensive.

    • The Common Man - Jul 9, 2011 at 2:52 PM

      Also, didn’t Kenny Williams put together the team that Ozzie Guillen used to win the World Series? Just sayin’.

  2. paul621 - Jul 9, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    But Beckham’s joke doesn’t happen without the implication that “gay” is a negative, regardless of whether it’s considered a slur by itself.

    • paul621 - Jul 9, 2011 at 2:13 PM

      Meant as a reply to rskelley, of course. Don’t worry, I’ll thumbs down myself.

    • The Common Man - Jul 9, 2011 at 2:46 PM

      If it’s not meant as a slur, why say it? Why would it have been funny? It’s obviously meant to embarrass Getz, as though being gay was funny or embarrassing.

  3. steve keane - Jul 9, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    this was a joke between two friends. Let’s move on. good point on Ken Williams not a foxhole kind of guy

    • The Common Man - Jul 9, 2011 at 2:43 PM

      If the joke was between two friends, it didn’t need to be on the infield in front of 35,000 people, now did it? Beckham took the joke into the public sphere and included the crowd in on the joke, and as such was even more in the wrong than he otherwise would have been.

      Ken Williams was down in that foxhole as one of very few GMs in the game today who played Big League ball. He knows the expectations that are on a player. And he knows that players can create an image problem for their team. His comments reflect that Beckham was being dumb and immature, but that he’s essentially a good kid who will (and did) apologize for being a moron.

      • steve keane - Jul 9, 2011 at 5:18 PM

        sorry but you sound like a guy who over hears an off color joke between to co-workers and runs to the EEO officer to report them. Again it was a JOKE between two friends move along nothing else to see here

      • The Common Man - Jul 9, 2011 at 6:20 PM

        It was a joke between two friends and the families and fans that one of them decided to involve. And there’s a difference between an off-color joke told privately between friends, and an off-color joke announced over the PA system, which is essentially what this was. In this particular case, I would object to the content of the joke either way (also because it’s a bad joke), but I would not see any reason to report it if someone was an douche in private and it didn’t interfere with their work.

      • clydeserra - Jul 10, 2011 at 3:41 AM

        ok, so its a joke.

        why is it funny. explain it to me.

  4. Tim's Neighbor - Jul 9, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    I wish we had a minimum age on here. 12 year old boys don’t add much to the discourse.

  5. jimbo1949 - Jul 9, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    Too bad we don’t have a moderator on weekends. Expecting pimply faced immature morons to be socially responsible is not possible these days. Expect racism and misogyny next.

  6. The Common Man - Jul 9, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    No one remembers when “gay” meant “happy.” That was roughly 50 years ago. You’re a bigot and a jackass, and I cannot wait for you to be banned from this forum.

    • 24may98 - Jul 9, 2011 at 8:52 PM

      I remember when the connotation of gay was happy and gleeful, and it had meant that for most of the Earth’s English-speaking population for most of human history. It was a serviceable for speech and writing. Indeed, I use it still – for time to time – among friends only, because it has taken only one meaning. (I feel daring when I do, but always happy.) As I recall “gay” displaced “queer” in hip usage, but then gays thought “queer” was cool for them to use and shout “We’re here and we’re queer!” (Similar to the hip-hoppers adoption of the n-word.)

      • The Common Man - Jul 9, 2011 at 8:56 PM

        You got me, I exaggerated in the name of making a sport.

  7. Craig Calcaterra - Jul 9, 2011 at 3:03 PM

    Goforthanddie’s comment has been delted and he has been banned.

    Act like you had some home training people.

    • jimbo1949 - Jul 9, 2011 at 3:05 PM

      Thanks for comin’ in today.

  8. Chris Fiorentino - Jul 9, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    Lord I hate where this overly PC country is headed. I truly do. Oh well…I guess I am just a racist knuckle-dragging homophobic Neanderthal because I think this is a non-issue.

    • The Common Man - Jul 9, 2011 at 5:04 PM

      Sigh, I guess you are, Chris.

  9. superpriebe - Jul 9, 2011 at 4:19 PM

    sawxalicious wrote:

    “These days playfully calling someone gay is like calling them a dork or a nerd. That is how the English language has evolved. Deal with it.”

    This situation is unacceptable because being gay doesn’t mean you are automatically stupid. It is shameful that it has indeed come to mean that, and that’s why we should try to marginalize such usage. In the future, people are not going to be calling each other gay when they really mean stupid, because it is not acceptable to stereotype all gay people as stupid. From that vantage point, your comment will be seen as representative of a part of history in which the oppression and mistreatment of gay people was still relatively accepted by mainstream society.

    As for the “Deal with it” sentiment, I echo it completely – we need to deal with this, by publicly acknowledging that it is an unacceptable use of the word gay. Next time, Beckham will write GETZ IS AN IDIOT GB in the sand and no one will care. Hopefully, other ballplayers (and professional athletes) will take note and small steps will be taken in the right direction towards a more open and accepting society.

    • nocryinginbaseball07 - Jul 10, 2011 at 5:21 AM

      You’re right, and a perfect example of that evolution are the terms “idiot” and “moron”, which used to be the actual classification terms of people with cognitive impairment until people started using them as slurs and insults. Now they no longer have any connection to those of actual limited mental ability. We’re not there yet with “gay”, and so it’s still hurtful no matter what the inent. It never hurts to think before speaking, of course, especially in public.

      • superpriebe - Jul 16, 2011 at 3:45 AM

        Thank you for bolstering my point. You are right that “idiot” is a good example. After all, the etymology of the word has little to do with cognitive impairment, as the word was in use far before that as an insult. When the relatively new field of psychology arose, the term was used for a while in connection with cognitive impairment. In time, this was shunned by the field, and cast aside. The current pejorative use of the word has everything to do with its original meaning. Note that there has been a move away from the casual use of “retard”, but no such movement away from the use of “idiot”.

        A different (but not dissimilar) background exists for “moron”, but I’m sure you don’t need that story as well. Why else would you have brought it up?

        As for all the thumbs down…really, what are we objecting to here? I mean, is the pejorative use of GAY really that important to the English language? Are we so homophobic that we really think gay people are all stupid? Or do we just want to avoid admitting to ourselves that something that we’ve used so commonly in the past could really be insulting and insensitive to a significant portion of the general public?

  10. b453841l - Jul 9, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    Anyone got pics of the message or a link to images? I’d like to see if he foreshortened the letters so that they were easier to view from the stands or if they looked proportioned only when standing on second base position. I’m also interested if he used ALL CAPS for ease of writing or a mixture of lower and upper case letters.

  11. Reflex - Jul 9, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    Everything I could have said on this topic has already been said. Props to The Common Man for ignoring the idiotic thumbs down and making the case. I am guilty of calling people ‘gay’ as a joke, and I did so for years without understanding the harm. Then a co-worker committed suicide a few years ago after he could not rectify his Mormon faith with his homosexuality and could no longer take the utter and complete rejection by his church and family of what he was.

    I don’t take joking about what someone is so lightly anymore. You never know who is on the edge or what it would take to push them over. Yes this was between two friends, but it was done in front of thousands of fans. Even in private it would be tasteless, but in public it is far worse. Who knows how many thousand children saw it and the 3-5% of them who will discover that they are homosexual as they reach maturity will somewhere have it in the back of thier mind that they are indeed the butt of a bad joke to a lot of people.

  12. nicosamuelson2 - Jul 9, 2011 at 10:35 PM

    “COMMNMAN RULZ!” (etched in the virtual dirt of the HBT Forum)

  13. Ryan Lansing - Jul 10, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    The first player to be active in the bigs while openly gay will most likely be a superstar rather than a replacement-level player. (See: Jackie Robinson) As soon as he puts up his first 7 WAR season Beckham’s joke will be as funny as the blackface routines of the 1930’s.

    There’s a pretty good chance that this player is already signed to a pro contract, and maybe even in the majors right now.

  14. salleyw13 - Jul 10, 2011 at 2:09 PM

    I wonder why the common man is so offended…

    • Reflex - Jul 10, 2011 at 3:16 PM

      I don’t know, why do you think he’s so offended?

    • The Common Man - Jul 10, 2011 at 3:53 PM

      That’s cute, salley. Way to tip your hand, you immature pissant.

      It’s probably because I have good friends and family members who are gay and who I love. Though if I were gay, I’d feel the same way and I don’t think there would be anything embarrassing about it.

      Why am I so offended? Because what was written was offensive. Perhaps a better question is, why are you not?

  15. Andrew - Jul 10, 2011 at 3:47 PM

    Common Man, I appreciate your comments in this thread.

    • thebadguyswon - Apr 28, 2013 at 10:50 PM

      I don’t.

  16. cshearing - Jul 11, 2011 at 10:07 AM

    I don’t see the big deal. Any gay friends I have take jokes about them being straight too. Should I be offended at myself?

    Even someone that does not agree with me…you must see the difference between this and the Kobe & Noah incidents, right?

    • The Common Man - Jul 11, 2011 at 10:33 AM

      Just because this incident isn’t as bad as those other ones doesn’t make it right.

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