Sunday, Dr. Frank Luntz appeared on NFL Today on CBS to discuss the communication skills of football players and coaches. Luntz is the author of several business books, including Words That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear. He also owns a company called “The Word Doctors”, which specializes in “message creation and image management”.
NFL Today invited Luntz to the program as a self-professed “language expert”, to determine which players communicated well, and which did not. One player that fell into the “bad” category was Terrell Owens. A short news clip of Owens shows him wearing sunglasses, a hat, and earrings in both ears.
Luntz expressed his disapproval of Owen’s appearance by saying that “millions of young people look to these football players as role models…lose the sunglasses, lose the hat, take it seriously.”
Another commentator asked Luntz what he thought of Owen’s earrings. Luntz's snarky reply was “that may work in San Francisco.”
In one breath, Luntz speaks of being a good communicator and role model, and in the next, utters a slightly-veiled gay joke. It's time that Luntz and CBS realize that men of all orientations wear earrings, that the LGBT community does not exist solely in San Francisco, and that the LGBT community can no longer be used as a punchline for tired old jokes.
GLAAD is reaching out to CBS Sports for an apology and to educate them on how words and images matter.
You can view the video here: