November 29, 2017
UPDATE: Following an intense backlash, John Boruk has apologized for his tweet about his son wearing a pink basketball jersey.
The NBC Sports Philadelphia reporter said he was fine with his son being his own person, noting he has often worn pink or fuchsia shirts on air before.
My apology for a previous tweet earlier today... pic.twitter.com/LBRuqyfsxO— John Boruk (@johnborukNBCS) November 29, 2017
The original story about Boruk's controversial tweet can be found below.
A common way to tell how well a tweet has been received by other Twitter users is the so-called ratio, or the number of replies, retweets and likes. More retweets and likes generally means most users found a tweet agreeable, while significantly more replies tends to mean many users are disagreeing with whatever was tweeted.
NBC Sports Philadelphia's Flyers reporter John Boruk found himself with the worse of those outcomes on Wednesday when he tweeted out the following photo of his son's pink basketball shirt and a Victoria's Secret shopping bag, suggesting his son's preference was girly.
My son wanted to be the pink or “fuchsia” colored team in rec league basketball. Sure, no problem. Just drop off the rest of the jerseys in this bag at practice tomorrow night. pic.twitter.com/VDGDU5sFwd— John Boruk (@johnborukNBCS) November 29, 2017
The reaction to Boruk's tweet was predictably negative, with pretty much everyone mocking and criticizing him for reinforcing an outdated gender stereotype.
How did I know this guy would have “Flyers” and “Trump” in his bio https://t.co/jlVoFceqhD— Anthony Capelli (@Anthony_Capelli) November 29, 2017
my son also wanted to wear pink for his soccer team he said dad it’s really cool and also brings awareness to cancer and you know what I said I told him YOU WILL WEAR TURQUOISE LIKE YOUR FATHER OR YOU WILL GET OUT OF THIS HOUSE then we both cried he’s 5 his name is Lenny— CK (@cranekicker) November 29, 2017
agreed john! pink or "fuchsia" is for girls or women. NOT BOYS. anyone who would consider wearing it should be thrown in a jail cell for life. men wear blue. Let's get back to American Values.— joe м (@dr_pizza_MD) November 29, 2017
My son doesn't want to play basketball. He prefers to draw. I think that's ok and that your son probably is ok too. Don't be a dick to him.— Mike Bates (@MikeBatesSBN) November 29, 2017
Ratio? Who needs a ratio? pic.twitter.com/7eiVvR2unz— Brandon Warne (@Brandon_Warne) November 29, 2017
Man shut up— Jimmy Donofrio (@JimmyDonofrio) November 29, 2017
So you’re gonna ***buy the shirts***, and then not only are you going to try and embarrass YOUR SON, you’re also going to make this announcement online? Not sure who the child is in this situation.— Patrick Wall (@ByPatrickWall) November 29, 2017
Do you think he'll wear a pink shirt years from now when he's still refusing to talk to his moron dad?— CogginToboggan (@CogginToboggan) November 29, 2017
Since you posted, John, my advice. Let your son be who he wants to be.— Glen Macnow (@RealGlenMacnow) November 29, 2017
To be fair, a handful of the many, many critical responses to Boruk's attempted joke go a bit too far. Calling him a bad parent because of a dumb tweet is an overreach. Otherwise, the backlash is entirely warranted. Some will surely present the "lighten up, it's just a joke" defense.
But with any joke, you have to ask: For whom and at whose expense is it being made? For a public figure like Boruk, the answer is not only his son, but also his more than 17,000 followers on Twitter and many more who watch him on TV – presumably some of who are women and may find his tweet sexist.
Also if you don't understand why implying a boy is essentially a wuss because he likes pink can be harmful, well, you probably haven't met someone who's been hurt because of tired, hack clichés like this — in a locker room or elsewhere.
Just as important: Jerks who like belittling others' masculinity for superficial reasons don’t need more fodder.
Boruk's response to one of the criticisms suggests he's doubling down on the whole thing. So let's just leave a reminder here for any young boy who might be reading this: It's perfectly fine to like pink. In fact, it's pretty badass.