Basketball | Gay Slurs | John Amaechi | News | Sports | Tim Hardaway

Announcer Billy Packer Called on "Fag Out" Comment

In an interview with Charlie Rose on Friday, CBS college basketball announcer Billy Packer casually used the term "fag out" while joking about Rose being a runner for him in this year's Final Four basketball match-up. 'Good As You' has the video of Packer's comments.

Packer"Do you need a runner this Final Four?" Rose asked, "because I could jump on a plane and I could be there." Said Packer: "You always fag out on that one for me, you know. You always say, oh yeah, I'm gonna be the runner, then you never show up. But I’m sure they can find a place for ya. You've got all the connections in the world. You can go ahead and be a runner anyplace you want to."

The term, as defined by Urban Dictionary means "To bail on something, 'pussy out'" while WordWebOnline defines it as "exhaust or get tired through overuse or great strain or stress."

Outsports asked CBS Sports Vice-president of Communications LeslieAnne Wade about the comments. Said Wade: "I know he wasn't meaning to be insensitive at all. While it is a term that is in the dictionary, it was still a poor choice of words. I'm confident that he would agree that it was a bad choice of words."

I'd agree. And while it appears to be a colloquialism left over from the days of the dinosaurs (John Amaechi said "I can honestly say I have never heard that phrase used that way. Not in my entire life."), perhaps Packer deserves to be bent over the knee of Tim Hardaway and spanked until Hardaway "fags out".

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. Being 'fagged' used to mean being worn out from too much exertion. There are many leftovers in our language, and we shouldn't fall into the trap of overreacting to innocent uses. A few years ago we had an iris plant sale at my employment and many varieties were offered including 'many Dykes Medal winners'. Someone immediately asked that this be stopped as many people are offended by the word 'dyke'. When it was pointed out to her that William R. Dykes is the person the medal was named in honor of she felt pretty silly. Context, people. Context is everything.

    Posted by: John | Apr 4, 2007 12:08:13 PM

  2. right.

    i'm fagged out = i'm tired (british slang)
    faggots of wood = kindling (also british)
    smoke a fag = cigarette (hey! british)

    get a grip, andy.

    Posted by: gerry | Apr 4, 2007 12:11:28 PM

  3. If words are likely to have misunderstood negative connotation, the smart person avoids them. This is precisely why people avoid using the word "niggardly" these days. Are you more interested in being technically correct or understood? And what's the point in being "right" if you fail to communicate?

    Posted by: Scott | Apr 4, 2007 12:25:32 PM

  4. "perhaps Packer deserves to be bent over the knee of Tim Hardaway and spanked until Hardaway "fags out"."
    Reading that made me laugh. The last time i read the term "fag out" was in a Craigslist Ad for a "Str8" guy with a girlfriend that wanted to "fag out" and try some dick. So just imagine Hardaway "fagging out" with Packer is just putting bad images in my mind

    Posted by: Scott | Apr 4, 2007 12:25:48 PM

  5. Gerry, last time I checked Packer wasn't British. Correct me if this has changed. And nobody (Andy included) is calling for his resignation. I, for one, hope that these things, no matter how minor, continue to be pointed out.

    Posted by: dude | Apr 4, 2007 12:32:17 PM

  6. Andy has a grip, and a very good one on this subject.

    You can defend the word until you turn blue in the face, but the word in any form is is offensive and needs to be removed from all vocabularies.

    I just did a few minutes of research at and found some interesting facts.

    The word (and I cringe at even typing it) nigger is now all about race and clearly says it is a derogatory word. I recall looking it up in Webster's Unabridged Dictionary decades ago, back in the stone age, pre-internet. The main definition was an ignorant person. Race wasn't even mentioned. Now that old definition has been dropped, at least in the online dictionary. It's just offensive.

    I wonder if I/we will ever see the day that fag/faggot (I cringe at typing that also)will be changed. No matter what CBS Sports Vice-president of Communications LeslieAnne Wade has to say in defense of Packer's use of the word. (Does anyone else see the irony of a man named Packer in this issue?) The man needs to make a public apology.

    I'm disgusted.

    Posted by: GaYToR | Apr 4, 2007 12:35:29 PM

  7. Any other words you would like to ban, Gaytor? How about rude gestures? Overweight people wearing horizontal stripes?

    Posted by: GM | Apr 4, 2007 1:03:32 PM

  8. Jeez folks. You know, some words did have a definition before we picked them up as slang terms. I really think the intelligent, non-reactionary, somewhat sane thing to do is to look at the intent and meaning behind the use of a word.

    Posted by: shane | Apr 4, 2007 1:09:54 PM

  9. Parker Posey says "Don't fag out on me" in the movie "Party Girl." It's a funny scene.

    Posted by: Anita Woodward | Apr 4, 2007 1:11:50 PM

  10. let's change "fag" to "fyg" and see who takes us seriously. worked wonders for the womyns movement.

    no wonder larry kramer is through with us.

    Posted by: gerry | Apr 4, 2007 1:12:18 PM

  11. NOTE: I just deleted a series of comments because, although somewhat relevant, they contained personal attacks unrelated to the topic of the post. To commenters: please keep your comments to the topic at hand. Thanks.

    Posted by: andy | Apr 4, 2007 1:12:59 PM

  12. Did I say "ban" I sometimes forget my exact quotes so I re-read what I posted. I said "removed." To me there is quite a difference.

    Go back and read it. Twice or more if needed until the real meaning of what I said.

    As for your comment: How about rude gestures? Overweight people wearing horizontal stripes?

    That must be your issue, it certainly isn't mine.

    Posted by: GaYToR | Apr 4, 2007 1:14:48 PM

  13. As he's on locally long after Lights Out here at the Judy Garland Memorial Home for Old Queens, could someone please tell me whether or not my understanding is correct that Charlie Rose, while covering every other serious topic under the proverbial sun, and many trivial ones, virtually never discusses gay rights-related issues, even when they're a hot news item of the day and he frequently changes his guests at the last minute accordingly. Did he have anyone on to discuss General Pace's "immoral" comments in relation to the bill in Congress to overturn DADT, etc.? I did see Larry Kramer on for a brief segment about a year ago, but, unfortunately, his patented and ludicrous "EVERYBODY hates us," overshadowed the rational things he said.

    Posted by: Leland | Apr 4, 2007 1:22:33 PM

  14. Nobody says "fag" anymore without knowing the conotation. No matter what an old fossil they are. There are so many other expressions that mean "tired" you have to choose to use this one knowing full well the derogatory meaning.

    Posted by: Daniel | Apr 4, 2007 1:24:24 PM

  15. Scott got it right.

    Posted by: Jack! | Apr 4, 2007 1:32:27 PM

  16. Context matters. Fagged out meant worn out before fag was derogatory slang. I'm militant about the use of 'fag', but not that militant... Let's give people the benefit of the doubt when appropriate.

    That being said? I do think that this was said with negative connotations. I don't think he meant 'worn out', I think he meant 'wimped out' and used fag in the orientation context rather than it's proper use.

    But again, I'll give the benefit of the doubt. Also? I'm not against censorship - it shouldn't be illegal to say hateful things. They should just be willing to take any consequences that happen to arise.

    Posted by: karashi | Apr 4, 2007 1:36:05 PM

  17. If Packer had said, "You always fag out half way through" I wouldn't have even noticed the phrase and I would have considered it completely appropriate based on the fact that I grew up hearing the phrase used in a totally non-gay-related way.

    I used to hear "to fag out" or "to be completely fagged out" ALL the time in Mississippi. It meant "to be exhausted to the point of collapse" and NEVER had ANY connection with the gay slur.

    Alberto Gonzales used the phrase IN THAT CONTEXT just last week and even though he came under fire, and even though I think he's a scumbag, I thought the criticism was wrong and misplaced because it was contextually proper based on the historical use of the phrase.

    On the other hand, I can't find ANY way to put Packer's statement into a context that could be anything but homophobic. It certainly seems to be in the same sexist and homophobic context as "pussy out".

    As Leland has pointed out, on numerous occassions, context is EVERYTHING.

    Posted by: Zeke | Apr 4, 2007 1:38:25 PM

  18. I'm from North Carolina, and we've been hatin' on Packer down here for decades, because everyone thinks he trashes their basketball team and promotes their rivals. Usually I'd relish an opportunity to criticize him, but not this time. He used a perfectly good English word in an appropriate way. I doubt very much that he meant it as derogatory to gay people or even intended a double entendre. Just because a word or phrase is not commonly used does not suggest it should be abandoned; quite the contrary in my view. Such usage keeps the language alive and colorful. This kind of mob censorship born out of misdirected hypersensitivity makes me kind of sad, as did the controversy a few years ago about a politician's appropriate use of the word "niggardly", which is another perfectly good word that is linguistically unrelated to the unfortunately nearly homonymous racial epithet. This actually made me think Packer might be smarter or better read than I thought he was, and I think we have enough to be sensitive about without picking silly fights.

    Posted by: Patrick | Apr 4, 2007 1:38:48 PM

  19. The husband just pointed out that he has heard me use the phrase a time or two in the 16+ years that he has endured me but ALWAYS to mean "exhausted".

    That's funny because I don't remember using it, but I'm sure I did based on my understanding of what it means.

    My point is, it is inaccurate to say that "no one" uses the term "fag out" or "fagged", without a homophobic context, anymore.

    Obviously some people, like me, still do. I just don't think Packer is one of them.

    Posted by: Zeke | Apr 4, 2007 1:45:21 PM

  20. Karashi, I didn't mean to repeat your comment word for word. I was typing when you posted.

    I obviously have the same take on this as you do.

    Posted by: Zeke | Apr 4, 2007 1:51:10 PM

  21. "Judy Garland Memorial Home for Old Queens"

    Yes, and we're all happy here. We're intergrated(only the bitches who wear their bifocals practice racism here). We have male strippers after Bingo(although some of them are crackheads). And we're given complete enemas every Friday evening--to remind us of our prime years.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Apr 4, 2007 1:53:02 PM

  22. And another thing...John Amaechi's our word choice reference? I mean, no disrespect to the dude, but what are his qualifications? If you got Bill Safire to say he'd never heard it, I'd consider that, but I can't think of many basketball players I'd defer to on this kind of thing.

    Posted by: Patrick | Apr 4, 2007 3:26:29 PM

  23. I asked John Amaechi about the term because he's British. Since the term has British origins, I wanted to see what a Brit thought of it in this context. The fact that he had never heard the term used in that context certainly made me think there was something there. I asked another Brit and he said the same thing. Given the origin of the term (as someone stated above), I think his opinion is relevant.

    Posted by: Cyd | Apr 4, 2007 4:05:30 PM

  24. It always amazes me how people will explain their use of a derogatory word. People have become savvy that they will disguise their true intent by saying they meant something else when questioned. Look at Ann Coulter's comment about John Edwards. She NO DOUBT used the f-word as an attack on his sexuality and masculinity. No one listening to her believed otherwise. But when questioned about it she said she meant something else. I'm not a fool. In America the f-word means only one thing.

    Posted by: Jack! | Apr 4, 2007 5:03:05 PM

  25. Jacki got it right.

    Posted by: Scott | Apr 4, 2007 5:27:58 PM

  26. 1 2 »

Post a comment


« «Bush Backs "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", Won't Judge Morality« «