Standards change over time. What might be a funny, yet insensitive comment one decade may be considered downright hateful the next. That’s what former Seinfeld star Jason Alexander found out last weekend when he made an appearance on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson and wound up offending many of his fans.

The host brought up the topic of cricket, and Alexander called the sport kind of gay. He then launched into all the reasons including the overly clean uniforms and the strange pitching styles. The joke went over pretty well with the audience, but following the airing, the comedian took a beating on Twitter by many who thought his comments were homophobic. After taking some time to think about it, Alexander offered up an incredibly long and wordy apology describing the history of the bit, why he did it on The Late Late Show and why he now agrees it was offensive.

Pointing out timing is everything, Alexander’s letter reveals he did the same joke years ago in Australia as part of a larger comparison between American sports and those preferred in the Land Down Under. It apparently crushed at the time; so, when Ferguson brought up cricket, the bit was the first thing he thought to do. Given comedy frequently comes from some type of generalization, he didn’t see a problem, but in retrospect, he now thinks it’s inappropriate given how hard the GLBT community is still struggling for its rights.

When I was growing up, it was common for people to use “gay” interchangeably with “effeminate”. It wasn’t right, but it was relatively normal. Over the past few years, that practice has become more and more culturally unacceptable. Thus, I see why Alexander made the mistake, I see why he apologized, and now, it’s time to move on.

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