"It's not acceptable because language matters and it has consequence"

Jonathan Butler and Francis Fitzgibbon discusses Conor McGregor's use of a homophobic slur

BY Raf Diallo 21:20 Monday 23 October 2017, 21:20 23 Oct 2017

Conor McGregor. USA TODAY Network/SIPA USA/PA Images

Over the weekend, footage emerged showing Conor McGregor using a homophobic slur - the "f" word specifically - backstage at a UFC event.

That use of crass language and its effects was something we discussed with Handsome Devil filmmaker Jonathan Butler and journalist Francis Fitzgibbon, who has both played for the Dublin Devils team. 

You can listen to the full debate on the podcast player:

"In this instance, it doesn't require much nuance in terms of discussion. It's a very hurtful word that affects LGBT kids when they hear it," said Butler.

"It's very easy not to use and no one would argue that it isn't used in a widespread manner up and down the country but that isn't argument into why it should stop being used. I don't really see much nuance around that. It's a pretty difficult thing to hear when you're a young LGBT kid trying to make your way in the world and particularly trying to play sport. I just think it's very easy not to use the [slur]."   

 

Francis echoed Butler's point, adding that McGregor is viewed by some young people as a role model which makes it all the more important as "they see him as what they want to be".

"And when they hear somebody saying words like f****t, it's not acceptable because language matters and it has consequence and what it does is it makes them feel other and something completely different," he said.  

"It's difficult for them to come to terms with who they are anyway, it's difficult enough for them to come to terms with this huge thing in their life, and maybe when they hear someone like Conor McGregor, who they consider to be their hero casting aspersions on them, it's going to make life more difficult for them." 

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