It’s undisputed that Chiefs running back Larry Johnson used a three-letter homophobic epithet on Twitter after Sunday’s 30-point loss to the Chargers.
As to whether he used the six-letter version of that same term in the locker room on Monday, well, it’s not quite as clear.
Here’s the audio, thanks to the Kansas City Star. As the Star explains, it took the audio from a hand-held tape recorder and professionally enhanced it.
But even with the enhancements, it’s not completely clear (in our view) that Johnson said what he allegedly said.
Given that Johnson’s apology from Tuesday was so general and vague, it’s also unclear whether he has admitted to using the term.
The problem is that we’re all predisposed to think that Johnson said “get your faggot ass out of here”; thus, our ears are hearing the words through that prism. We’d be interested to know what someone who doesn’t know about the situation believes that Johnson says.
And, frankly, the first question a neutral observer might have upon listening to the tape is whether the person speaking is James Earl Jones in his Darth Vader voice.
None of this changes the fact that Johnson said what he said on Twitter. So we’re not sure the locker-room incident really matters.
Still, we expected a smoking gun. This is more like a glove that may or may not fit.