We can't decide where we stand on the suspension of Brian Kinchen for using the word "gay" to describe his tender commentary about proper pass-catching technique. (One sentence into this, and we're already stumbling into double and triple-entendre. Call us the Chris Rix of metaphorical confusion, 'cause we'll keep throwing into it all day.)
Kinchen's own words--lost to the bastards who took down the YouTube video--were that in order to be a good receiver, one had to be "tender" and "caress" the football. Then Kinchen, after a thoughtful moment, proclaimed his own description to be "kinda gay."
The suspension results not from Kinchen broaching the g-word on a broadcast, but in its usage here: gay, as referring to homosexuals in the operant sense, not in the "1926 picnic with some bathtub gin" sense. We know why Kinchen got the suspension--because you no touch the g-word in sport on air, even if the use was somewhat accurate--but we question the meaning of Kinchen's particular usage. We heard the clip pre-memoryholeage (again, entendres abound,) and Kinchen was right: few men other than gay men would have used those terms to describe the act of catching a football. Kinchen was, essentially, making fun of himself for being a straight guy using verbiage very much not his own.
Would it have been equally kerfufflish if, say, Tim Gunn had described a particular outfit on Project Runway as "a slam dunk?" It's something only a straight guy would say, sure, but the hypersensitivity seems unwarranted here. We're not even talking fourth-grade gay like wearing generic brand Jams shorts or anything; we're talking about referring to something offhandedly as gay or straight, something that's been pretty well hammered into the popular consciousness over the past decade.
(Plus: the whole thing happened on ESPNU anyway. You'd think they'd be openly popping bottles on air and shooting a gagged and bound Colin Cowherd with paintball guns to get people watching over there, much less freaking out about a guy using the word 'gay' on air.)
You might say it's like putting on your favorite Vera Wang gown to go tchochke shopping at the Crate and Barrel. That's kind of gay to say. Or is it?
Keep it gay, Brian Kinchen.