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Does calling someone a thug = the N word?

This topic contains 20 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by  saramarshall 5 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #174437

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    This came up this week after the tirade by Seattle Seahawks player Richard Sherman’s minutes after the game. People on social media were very critical of him and some of the comments were racist. A lot of people called him a thug. Sherman said that calling him a thug was just another way of calling him an N word. I don’t know that thug is only used for black people. Acting like a thug is acting like a punk, a gang banger, whatever you want it to be. Trash talking is a big part of sports. We only see part of it, but it goes on every play. A lot of it is joking around, but of course some of it is bad sportsmanship. It’s more prevalent now than 20 years ago, and it seems to involve more black athletes than white. Not that white players don’t talk trash. Supposedly Larry Bird was one of the biggest trash talkers ever. Back in his day it was still more subtle. I never knew he was a trash talker until after he retired and players said he was. He did it quietly and didn’t make a scene. Sherman is not the typical player. He is very intelligent, got his degree with a 3.9 GPA at Stanford. He seems very thoughtful off the field. On the field he has had numerous run ins with other players because of his trash talking. His comments and behavior after the game on Sunday made him look like an idiot. He barely made any sense and was talking like a man with a 4th grade education. I know, heat of the battle, etc. Yes and no. He knows better than to act like that and it’s a show. He turned it on and he can turn it off. He’s a great player and he backs up his talk, but great players don’t have to do that. Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, Jerry Rice, Tom Brady, Walter Payton etc were or are all great players who didn’t act like that. They are just as competitive as any anyone.

    So if people call him a thug are they really saying he is an N word? I don’t think so. I think that is an excuse and playing the race card.

  • #263276

    LC
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    No. Not even a little bit. Mafia? Cartels? Shoe don’t fit.

  • #263283

    pepsilvr
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    Depends on who is doing the calling of thug. There are definitely people who use thug as a synonym for the n word. I wouldnt go so far to say Sherman was acting like a thug but it was definitely over the top and an unflattering moment to have memorialized in the digital age. It doesn’t matter what his issues were with crabtree he could have found a better way to express them on camera.

  • #263273

    doclaguna
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    Yes. In that context, the subtext is clear.

  • #263270

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    So because he’s black it’s racist to call him a thug? That requires knowing the person and what they think to make that call. It’s not about race in this case to most people. It’s about acting civil.

  • #263284

    pepsilvr
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    It is indirectly about race. If he were white he would not have been called a thug. Probably a punk not a thug. Thug is commonly used to describe those who look a little rough around the edges or like they could be in a gang. I am sure people imagined him in gold chains baggy pants and Jordan’s with his locks and think thug automatically. His rant doesn’t help that cause. Doesn’t make those calling him a thug right either.

  • #263280

    tomwaltman
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    Richard Sherman is not a thug, even in the broadest sense of the word and how it is used now to represent someone who wants to look “tough.” THAT is what people generally mean when they call someone a thug. It is directly from the “rapper” lifestyle and is drawn from their self idfntification. Sherman is a cslculating self promoter who chooses carefully when to run the motor. His act the other day was part of that. He is a smart guy who is getting tons of press. Perfect job of communicating his desire to have the spotlight on him at this time. Bravo.

    What a lot of people remember though, and one of the things not being mentioned, is this is the same guy who skated on a technicality on his PED use, just like Ryan Braun. He is not particularly likable. But he is s great player who will be fun to watch in the Superbowl.

  • #263271

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    His behavior in front of the camera though was “thug like”. I think thug = gang banger type tough guys. When people think of gangs they probably think of black or Hispanic gangs. I have no doubt that a lot of people think he is an N word. Maybe “thug” is a word that is used to refer to more to black people than anyone else. When did that type of behavior start in sports? Wasn’t always like that. I think it does make white people uncomfortable and a lot of white people don’t like that behavior in sports. I don’t mind some showmanship, but I don’t like all the stuff that goes on in football. Every play someone is acting up. A running back gets 5 yards and he’s doing something. Defensive guy stops him for no gain and he’s dancing. People are kind of tired of that. Guys like Jim Brown never did that stuff. It wasn’t always a part of sports. One of the first guys to start doing stuff on defense was Mark Gastineau and he’s a white guy. It’s not just something black players do, it’s just that there are more black players and more at some of the skilled positions like WR, RB and DB who are making plays. The white guys are full backs, O lineman, QB’s, LB’s, so not players who typically make a lot of big plays except for LB’s.

    So if a person doesn’t like Sherman’s act, what’s a good word for it? Punk? Classless?

  • #263277

    LC
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    Interesting how a difference in generations or just age will affect the meaning of a word. I did an experiment and wrote down a few names to match “thug.” I came up with (in order) Jimmy Hoffa, Richard Nixon, Rahm Emanuel, the Sopranos, and my cuz Marsellus Wallace. I don’t associate the word with blacks first, although I think I am starting to with “gangster” which is also a change over time.

  • #263288

    ErinO
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    The word “thug” originated in India back in the 1300’s. Thuggees (known as Thugs) were a secret group of criminals who performed large scale robberies and murders of travelers.

    The word has evolved over time to refer generally to thieves or criminals. Often gangster-rappers who glorify criminalistic lifestyles in their music are referred to as “thugs”. It is the glorification of violence and crime that leads to this title, not the color of their skin. Plenty of white people in the mafia have been referred to as thugs too.

  • #263274

    doclaguna
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    Can you point to a recent event where the media or public sentiment labelled a white person as a thug?

  • #263281

    tomwaltman
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    Read anything in the mainstream media about Chris Christie.

  • #263278

    LC
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    or George Bush

  • #263279

    LC
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    How about George Zimmerman? Google “George Zimmerman thug” and see what you get.

  • #263285

    pepsilvr
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    Even more proof how the use if the word thug is skewed. These people actually did things or were accused of doing things that were criminal in nature. Sherman talked trash on TV after making and amazing play and displaying some kind of un-sportsman like conduct to another player on the opposing team. If Sherman were white he would not have been called a thug he would have been called a punk or an idiot or a jackass.

  • #263282

    tomwaltman
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    I think “jerk” was how I referred to him. The sad thing is that he is an incredibly well spoken, well educated young man who has a plan in life and is very successful. Much like Marshall Mathers, he would be seen very differently if he chose to project a more cultured image, that is actually more in line with his intelligence and long-term goals. His conduct has caused the various prejoratives attached to his personality. That is on him.

  • #263286

    pepsilvr
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    I think he would have accepted any of those terms better than thug. Jerk works. I called him an Ass.

  • #263289

    ErinO
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    Justin Beiber was called a thug by the press for his most recent antics in Florida. You can’t get much whiter than Justin Beiber.

  • #263287

    pepsilvr
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    His recent antics were in line with the true meaning of thug. He was committing or accused of a crime right? Thug fits. Being boastful on TV does not.

  • #263275

    doclaguna
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    @tomwaltman 92094 wrote:

    I think “jerk” was how I referred to him. The sad thing is that he is an incredibly well spoken, well educated young man who has a plan in life and is very successful. Much like Marshall Mathers, he would be seen very differently if he chose to project a more cultured image, that is actually more in line with his intelligence and long-term goals. His conduct has caused the various prejoratives attached to his personality. That is on him.

    I like to call him Stanford Grad, Superbowl Bound, All Pro, Beat the Whiners Sherman. 😉

  • #263290

    saramarshall
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    This is so ridiculous. The media is constantly in overdrive….nobody can say anything now a days without it being picked apart. Why do we even have to call them a name or a label? Why can’t we just say they used poor judgement or made a mistake.

  • #263272

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    In this case it was Sherman who said thug = racism.

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