On Tuesday night, the Minnesota Timberwolves and Oklahoma City Thunder faced off in what would become a heated division rivalry game. The emotionally charged contest saw ejections, fights, and former Sixers’ center Nerlens Noel taken off on a stretcher. Nerlens took a nasty fall that saw his head smack off of the court while trying to contest a dunk.
Needless to say, the entire first half of the game was tense. Both teams forced several fouls and the game saw more than one heated exchange. The Nerlens injury appeared to be the catalyst for it all.
The horrifying play took place midway through the 3rd Quarter. T-wolves Forward Andrew Wiggins went up to attempt a dunk and was met head-on by Noel. Team trainers and doctors rushed to the floor to assist him and he would eventually be carted off on a stretcher. Players from both sides, including Russell Westbrook, could be seen praying during the scary moment.
Later in the game, Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroeder continued to exchange barbs and insults. Eventually, Teague started shoving Schroeder which would lead to his ejection. Even with Teague’s departure, the Timberwolves would go on to win the game 119-117. This marked their first win since the departure of Tom Thibodeau.
Despite plenty happening on the court, there were several post-game headlines regarding comments made by Andrew Wiggins. You’d think that the serious head injury to Nerlens would be the top concern, but this is outrage culture folks.
After the game, Wiggins was asked about the exchanges made between Teague and Schroeder. Wiggins responded, saying in regards to Schroeder: “I don’t know what’s wrong with him… he was just gay, he was acting crazy for no reason.”
Immediately following the response, manufactured outrage spread like a California wildfire on Twitter. He got the typical routine about how evil his words were and how he was a “homophobe”. After watching the video from Michael Kinney myself, it’s pretty obvious that he did in fact call Schroeder gay. But even if he did, does that really warrant what happened next?
For one, Wiggins calling Schroeder gay was not a slur. Yeah, maybe if he had called him a homo or a fag for getting into Teague’s face it would have been viewed a bit too far; but he was not trying to label Schroeder or anything like that. He called him gay because even after Noel was taken off the floor and players were separated after a scuffle, Schroeder was still stirring the pot and getting into it with players on the Wolves. It led to Teague shoving Schroeder back to get out of his face and Teague being handed a double technical and ejected from the game.
Inevitably though, Wiggins’ response was met with criticism and he was being torn apart for “hate speech” and offensive labels towards the LGBT community. Wiggins responded early Wednesday morning at 2:34 AM ET with a tweet.
First off, since when did they add the “QIA” and how many more letters will they add to the name in the future? Also, the fact that Wiggins only got 184 people to re-tweet his apology shows the obviously few amount of people that really felt the need to apologize for what he said. Most fans understand that this was an emotional reaction to a heated game of basketball.
Plus, why does it matter what a basketball player says? He’s there to entertain as well as make money for himself and his family. Obviously we want to hold public figures to standards, but is Wiggins saying the word “gay ” really that big of a deal? Most of us grew up saying it as a childish insult.
I’m not saying it’s good to continue using it, but it is fairly clear that Wiggins didn’t say anything he intended as harmful. Why can’t people just say “alright man, no worries” and move on when they see he’s being sincere? Wiggins knows what is in his heart, and he has shown us nothing to suggest that he is some bigot towards anyone, LBGT or otherwise.
We need to get past this idea of having to justify ourselves to people that have no interest in forgiveness. If a 30-second sound-byte from an NBA player really bothers you that much, then I don’t know what to tell you. There will always be people doing and saying things we don’t like. That’s life.
There are much worse things than this and people need to get over themselves. Wiggins is a guy who is donating $22 for every point scored this year to underprivileged youth, and that’s pretty cool in my book. I’ll judge him for that instead of some comment he made after a heated game.