Duke Haters: Stop Calling Blue Devils Gay

Much like the Yankees and the Cowboys, Duke's basketball program is an easy target for collective hate. One writer accepts this, but she's disturbed by the rampant homphobia that comes with it.

Seyward Darby is a Duke alum — a former reporter and editor for the school's newspaper The Chronicle, actually — but she doesn't consider herself a super-fan. In fact she can understand why Duke draws so many haters due to its elitist reputation and its tony Carolina Piedmont zip code. But, she says, there comes a point when healthy, competitive bashing turns ugly:

There's the classic "This is Why Duke Sucks" YouTube video that has received more than 1.6 million hits—and boasts lyrics about one Duke player being a "bitch" and another having a "dude's face all on [his] balls." Or the more recent (and explicit) video, "Greg Paulus—'I Kissed a Boy,'" which mocks Duke's senior guard for, among other things, enjoying the taste of men's sweat. Or another video about Paulus ("Tea Bag: A Greg Paulus Tribute"), posted by user TarHeel32Blue, which shows several clips of the guard near or between the legs of other players.

But the abuse this Blue Devil class receives pales in comparison to the abuse J.J. Redick received:

Duke Haters: Stop Calling Blue Devils Gay

Exhibit A, however, is the cascade of homophobia directed at superstar three-point shooter J.J. Redick during his years in Durham. In 2004, N.C. State guard Scooter Sherrill said publicly that, after Redick shot threes, he had "his hand up like he's gay or something." A quick perusal of Redick's Wikipedia history reveals dozens of now-deleted comments like, "J.J. Redick is a confirmed homo sexual" with whom it's rumored "coach K made sexual arrangements." A notorious photo snapped during a game shows a Duke fan with a "JJ is Redickulous" sign standing unsuspectingly next to a Maryland supporter who adds "-ly gay" with his own poster. The New York Times wrote about the cheers of "Brokeback Mountain" often shouted at him during games, and you can still find photos on Tarheeltimes.com that show Redick's face superimposed on images from the movie.

So, remember, when you root for Binghamton's Bad Newz Bearcats to heroically upset the Blue Devils in Greensboro: Just because some players on Duke might be romantically interested in men doesn't mean they're bad people.

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Devilish [TNR]