Email from reader Chris:
Here’s the situation. I run a fantasy football league, the same guys for 14 years. New rule last year, worst team we get to name your team for the upcoming year. This year’s “honoree,” is named Ed. Ed has been my friend since kindergarten has been the penultimate ball buster throughout our lives. After much serious debate we decided to name his team, “Big, Gay, Ed,” with an homage to the South Park character. Here’s the rub. He goes apeshit, says he’s offended, says he punch somebody out if they don’t change it, and calls us all pussies. At first we though he was joking but it doesn’t seem he is. Ironically his behavior has only made his name selected team name more appropriate not to mention the possibilities for more ridicule endless. Frankly if he’s now a politically correct person, he’s in the wrong place, with the wrong people. Whattya think?
Wow. A lot of dynamics at play here, Chris. I see two possible reasons why your friend is upset: he’s either offended or trying to be politically correct. Let’s unpack them both.
1) Offended. I’m assuming that you are certain Ed is, in fact, not gay. If he’s gay and you know it, or worse (as it pertains to the situation), gay and you don’t know it, then he has very obvious and understandable reasons for being upset and we should just stop this discussion, because you’re an asshole and Ed now hates you. Way to go, you intolerant prick.
But assuming you’ve considered this possibility, there are still many reasons why Ed might be offended. Maybe he has a gay brother or friend (again, I’d like to think you’ve already thought of these things), or maybe he’s bothered by another part of the name. Have you considered this: Is Ed fat? If so, the Big part may have brought back years of insecurities. Is he one of those Eds who has to be called Edward or Ted? If so, adjust name accordingly or, better yet, stop being friends with him, because he’s terrible.
Bottom line is this: If Ed’s offended, he’s offended. He doesn’t need a reason, and if the name is causing something that was once fun to become something that causes him pain, you and your friends are big bullies and Ed should punch you all in your faces.
2) Politically correct. Judging by the tone of your email, I’m guessing that Ed didn’t survive a couple of decades of friendship with you if you guys were that different in your respective sense of humors. I feel like Ed’s not offended– he may just be leery about having something slightly controversial attached to his name. Here’s the thing, though: NO ONE CARES WHAT HIS TEAM NAME IS. That’s the real issue at play. Hearing about someone else’s fantasy football team is only one small step above stepping on a slug– it’s not going to ruin your day, but it’s annoying and makes you sigh a deep breath of frustration.* Fantasy leagues are the Vegas of sports things. Whatever happens in fantasy leagues, should stay in fantasy leagues. Everyone’s got their own to worry about, and if they don’t, they certainly don’t care about yours.** So if Ed’s not offended and no one else in your league is offended, then by all means, go ahead: Big, Gay, Ed (I do like your use of commas in there) it is and should be. No one’s judging (actually, about 20k people are judging now, but never mind them). We all joke around with our close friends, family members and significant others in ways that that, taken out of context, would look and seem pretty terrible, but it’s fine because both parties understand the joking, not-to-be-taken-seriously nature of the exchange. A fantasy football league is essentially a big
gay friendship, and if all parties understand that [insert thing] is all in good fun, then it’s all in good fun. It sounds like Ed lost last year and is too insecure in his own skin to take a joke that is very obviously paying homage to a truly great South Park character. Personally (and this is assuming that your friend is the big ballbuster you make him out to be), I think Ed is being a largemouth vagina. In fact, therein may lie your solution. Why even bother with the name if it’s causing such a problem and you to rethink your friendship? So, I submit to you Ed’s, or Edward’s, or Ted’s, new 2014 fantasy football team tame: Largemouth Vagina. Unless he’s married to a former prostitute or Chyna, there’s no way he could possibly be offended by that one. But he probably won’t like it, either.
*Unless you lost late on a Monday night unexpectedly when a tight end caught three touchdown passes and totally fucked you. That’s fun, and I want to learn about your misery.
**That said, me and my dad are looking forward to kicking off the inaugural season of our Footlong Foles team.***
***It is pretty tough to not talk about your fantasy football.