This Business Insider Senior Editor Thinks NBA And NFL Players Do “Hood Rat Sh-t”
It’s never easy to get an assignment handed to you that’s hard to write — especially one as silly as a listicle about what constitutes a “Modern Gentleman,” but that didn’t stop Business Insider’s senior finance editor, Linette Lopez, from giving it the old college try. The other thing it didn’t stop her from? Making casually racist, clunkily-worded tweets that indicted NFL and NBA players for no damn reason.
When Lopez took to Twitter to complain about the difficulties of finding subjects for an article she was assigned (that aforementioned story about five men who “exhibit the qualities of a Modern Gentleman”), she quickly stuck her foot in a mouth with a painfully tone deaf and completely racist follow-up on what such qualities might entail.
.@IvanTheK Well dressed, well spoken, successful, open about their values (no hood rat sh–t — sorry NBA, NFL etc) Under 40.
— Linette Lopez (@lopezlinette) February 2, 2015
There are so many absurdities built into that one tweet, it’s honestly mind-boggling choosing where to even begin. Let’s start with the racism, I suppose. What exactly is hood rat shit? I spent about 15 minutes trying to put myself in Lopez’s shoes, and envision a world in which using the generic phrase “hood rat shit” wouldn’t be offensive to minorities, and I’ve come up completely at a loss. While I can imagine a handful of circuitous defenses Lopez might employ, let’s call a spade the spade Lopez intended when she tweeted this: hood rat shit at its colloquial core refers to the general activities of urban minorities, generally blacks and Latinos, that are perceived unsavory, or in this case, not befitting of a “Modern Gentleman.” (To be truly fair, in its original iterations, “hood rat” was a slang term thrown around for loose urban women, but its etymology, especially that of “hood rat shit,” has most certainly evolved to mean unsavory and often illegal activities.) You call something hood rat shit casually, and even without context, we’re all aware of exactly what you’re referring to. Words are fun that way, you know? Words are also hurtful. Also, racist.
Then there’s the NBA and NFL of it. Sure, the NFL has had a woman problem — one that only gained widespread attention this year, and one that I’ve written about plenty — that makes them hard to sympathize with. Sure, the argument of “Not all [insert league here]” is just a hair away from the #NotAllMen hashtaggers. But there are plenty of NBA and NFL players, of all races, who exhibit the narrow characteristics Lopez claims to be looking for. You want well dressed? Look at Amar’e Stoudemire of the New York Knicks, Dwight Howard of the Houston Rockets, or even scroll through New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman’s Instagram feed. You want successful? The average yearly salary for an NBA player is a mere $5.15 million, and generally carries the assumption that NBA teams only employ players who generally exhibit a keen mastery of their sport. NFL players clock in at a paltry $1.9 million per year average, which must be what they pay the real losers in life, in the Linette Lopez School of Economics. How much do Business Insider senior editors make again? If you’re looking for values (the specifics of which Lopez does not disclose), there are plenty of players in both leagues who are more than open about their faith, are wonderful parents to their children, and give back to their communities.
But let’s point out the elephant in the room of all of this: the NFL is 67.8 percent black. The NBA is 76.3 percent black, with 81 percent of its players being people of color. But given the 1,696 active players in the NFL and 450 in the NBA, that’s a hell of a lot of people of color being lumped into a largely generalized pool of people who might do “hood rat shit” solely on the basis of playing in a professional sports league. The MLB and NHL have significantly fewer players of color — only 8.3 percent of baseball players and a mere 2 percent of hockey players identify as black. When you call out just the NFL and NBA as being endemic of “hood rat shit,” at least have the balls to call out what you mean on its face: by Lopez’s estimation, the NBA and NFL, with their significantly higher rates of players of color, are more likely to have players who engage in “hood rat shit” (whatever the fuck that is).
Given that Lopez threw that little period in front of her reply about hood rat shit, she wanted people to know and see her beliefs on who counts as a modern gentleman and who does not (hood rats, NFL and NBA players, men who are not successful by Lopez’s own standards of socioeconomic prosperity). It may just be a tweet, but it’s tone deaf, it’s racist, and for a senior reporter of a major publication, it’s downright embarrassing.
We’ve reached out to Lopez to clarify her comments, including hope that she might explain what exactly “hood rat shit” is. We’ll update if we hear back.