Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cornerback Carlton Davis Apologizes After Tweeting Anti-Asian Slur

Illustration for article titled Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cornerback Carlton Davis Apologizes After Tweeting Anti-Asian Slur
Photo: Steve Luciano (AP)

Last time I checked, words mean things. So should you ever feel inclined to use a specific word, it’s probably in your best interest to ensure that you’re acutely aware of its actual definition.

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We call this “foreshadowing.”

On Sunday, Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davis should’ve been off somewhere hiding Easter eggs or watching Steve Harvey try his damndest to ruin the greatest Verzuz humankind has ever known. Instead, he was front and center on Twitter, tweeting things that are not only extremely harmful but will inevitably get his ass fined, suspended, beat or worse.

From NBC Sports:

On Sunday evening, Davis tweeted, “Gotta stop letting gooks in Miami,” using an offensive term that refers to Vietnamese, Korean and Filipino people in a derogatory way.

Davis later deleted the tweet and posted an apology insisting that he didn’t know what the word means.

Sir, if you’re gonna exercise the Meyers Leonard defense—who last I checked, anti-Semitic slurred his way out of the league—you could’ve at least done your homework to find out if it’s actually effective.

SPOILER WARNING: It’s not.

But don’t think the 2018 second-round draft pick didn’t hop his ass on Twitter afterward and try to save his career.

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“I would never offend any group of people. You reporters can look for another story to blow up,” he tweeted. “The term was directed towards a producer claiming he ‘ran Miami’. With that being said I’ll retire that word from my vocabulary giving the hard times our Asian family are enduring. I used a term that from where I come from has always meant “lame” but I did not realize it has a much darker, negative connotation. I have learned a valuable lesson and want to apologize to anyone that was offended by seeing that word because we need to focus on helping each other during these tough times.”

This is a terrible look for the Bucs, considering Davis is on their social justice board and has previously spoken out about the importance of addressing racial inequality in America.

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“A lot of what the problem is is just not knowing,” he said last June. “It’s not knowing or understanding Black people, or never experiencing them or not knowing what to expect, so if we can improve the relationships between our officers and Black people through community relationships and holding them accountable for taking a life, then I think that would definitely be a step forward for us.”

You can easily flip a couple of those words around to make the Miami, Fla., native sound like a complete hypocrite. Twitter had plenty to say on the matter, and the Asian American Journalists Association Sports Task Force also expressed its disappointment in the 24-year-old in a statement:

“Earlier today, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Carlton Davis posted a tweet that included a derogatory term historically used to refer to Asians in the early 1900s. The Asian American Journalists Association Sports Task Force is disappointed by his sentiment, especially at a time when Asians in the United States are experiencing a sharp increase in anti-Asian hate which has resulted in harassment and attacks.

‘Gook’ is a hateful slur and is listed in AAJA’s official guidance on covering Asia and Asian Americans. The AAJA STF appreciates the swift response by the Buccaneers’ organization to address this matter. We also acknowledge Davis’ apology and look forward to seeing how he will help the affected communities.

AAJA calls on national and local media outlets to prioritize coverage of this ongoing violence and hate against AAPIs, and to empower their journalists to report on these incidents immediately, accurately and comprehensively. AAJA National has also put together a list of related mental health resources that you can find here.”

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The Bucs have yet to announce a course of action, if any, that the organization will take in response to Davis’ tweet. In other news, the dictionary is your friend. Use it wisely.

Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for y'all to stop putting sugar in grits.

DISCUSSION

I can be convinced that a 24 year old didn’t know that word was a racial slur. BUT as soon as you’re told you apologize, take down the tweet, donate to/volunteer with an AAPI organization and be quiet. Don’t blame “the media” for your ignorance. Don’t say you would never do xyz. You did xyz, own it and be better.