Friday, May 27, 2011

Note on NBA players saying "Pause"

[The following is an excerpt from my longer post on Black Men, Verbal Skills, and the NBA.]

Everyone knew that Kobe Bryant and then Joakim Noah were wrong when they were caught on camera saying the particular F-word gay slur. The NBA front office quickly and rightly fined those players for their statements.

But the NBA front office fails to catch, censure, and police the homophobic implications of players saying "Pause." For the uninitiated, the use of "Pause" apparently (sigh) emerged in black communities, likely among black men. When an inadvertent statement or comment or pun is made that could be perceived as "gay," a speaker would say "Pause. No Homo."


As the word-game persisted, people dropped the "No Homo," and just said "Pause." At the end of an Orlando vs. Lakers game earlier in the year, I was surprised to see Dwight Howard say "Pause" in a post-game interview. I was surprised because it was on live television. The reporter did not understand it.

After a playoff win over the Lakers, Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets was doing a post-game interview when an enthusiastic teammate grabbed and hugged him from behind. Paul responded "Man, pause."

Eventually, team, NBA officials, and television producers will discover what is meant by "Pause," and players will be advised not to make the comment. And rightly so.

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