Deflate-gate & its grammar gaffes

Deflate-gate may turn out to be nothing but hot air (or COLD air, as the blame may be), but it has also become an occasion for more blunders in grammar.

One wonders if some athletes purposely speak awful grammar as a nod towards the ghetto.  I’m thinking of the defensive tackle for the New England Patriots, Vince Wilfork.  It’s good that he helped a woman out of a car wreck on the night of the Patriots’ NFC championship.  But his language itself has proven to be a wreck.  In a recent interview, Wilfork was saying how Tom Brady would persevere in spite of all the criticism about deflate-gate.  Wilfork remarked (I can’t remember the exact quote) something like, “That’s what he do.”

Kids are listening.  Kids who themselves may not know there’s a better way to speak English–are listening.  Can’t these pro athletes at least do what they can for youths by setting the standard higher rather than stumbling through the language?  Or do they themselves even know how?

It makes me wonder when these athletes do their introductions at the start of a game:  “Vince Wilfork…University of…”    Really?

Bill Cosby is taking it on the chin these days–and it seems deservedly so.  But his voice has been prominent in trying to raise standards among African-American youths.  He would talk about kids saying things like, “That’s what he do,” and Cosby would say, “No doctor talks like that!  Nobody is going to get a job talking like that in an interview!”

And there’s more.  It’s surprising how many athletes-turned-broadcasters haven’t figured out the language yet.  Here’s one I heard from the deflate-gate controversy.  An announcer was talking about “the amount of balls” that each team provides before a game.

“The AMOUNT of balls”?

It’s “the NUMBER of balls.”

“Amount” is used for things that can not be counted individually–like volume (“He drinks a large amount of water.”)

“Number” is used for things you can count on your fingers (“He drinks a number of bottles of water”).

I hear it often in baseball as well.  “He throws a large amount of pitches.”


The color combinations of SOME sports teams are a delight.  I especially like the gold & scarlet of Iowa State, the cardinal & gray of Ohio State, the green & gold of the Green Bay Packers and the Steelers’ black & gold.  The contrast between the colors is what makes the uniforms attractive.

But there are teams whose colors are so close to each other (light brown on white, for example)–they’re barely visible.  In Major League Baseball, it’s the Milwaukee Brewers (white, gold and navy blue) and the San Diego Padres (white and midnight blue); in the NFL, the Jacksonville Jaguars (gold and black).

Gold does not go well with ANY color.  It is too tarnished a look.  Notre Dame’s gold & blue and Pitt’s blue & gold look so nondescript, I often have trouble figuring out which team is which when I see them playing each other in a football game on TV.

The truth is, the teams that SAY their color is GOLD in reality are using dark YELLOW (like Iowa State, Green Bay, the Steelers…)  But who wants to call their colors “yellow,” any more than McDonald’s wants to advertise “yellow French fries”?


Have you ever heard of a person named “Kofi” (like the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan) or Kwame (like the No. 1 draft pick in the NBA in 2001, Kwame Brown)?

I just learned recently what those names mean. They are from the West African nation of Ghana.

“Kofi” means “Friday.”  In Ghana, a person born on a Friday is typically named “Kofi.”

“Kwame” means “Saturday.”


Why is a barber pole red, white and blue?

The answer is awfully gory.

It used to be that treatment for illness was–by bleeding the person.  This treatment was done by a barber.  The patient (victim?) would grab onto a pole.  The surgeon would then cut the person.

Thus, the white of a barber pole stands for the bandages.

The red stands for blood that is let out from an artery.

The blue stands for blood that is let out from a vein.


What does “Rx” mean at a pharmacy?

“Rx” is an abbreviation for the Latin verb “recipe” (“take”), as in “take two pills and call me in the morning.”


In ancient times, the kidneys and liver were thought of the way today we think of the “heart”, as in “the heart of a person’s character.”

The kidneys and liver, because they were so deep internally, were thought of as the center of a person’s feelings.  In the Bible, to speak of a person’s “heart and kidneys” was to speak of the essence of a person’s character.

In the Bible, the word for kidneys often is “reins” (from the Latin “renes,” as in “renal”).  In Psalm 16:7, we read, “I will bless the Lord who hath given me counsel; my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.”

This is the King James Version.  The word for “kidneys” (“reins”) is changed to “heart” in the New International Version:  “I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.”

“Liver” appears in Lamentations 2:11:  “…my liver is poured upon the earth…”, meaning, I’m crushed; my feelings are splattered.  The New International Version replaces “liver” with “heart”:  “…my heart is poured out on the ground…”


Before leaving, one more go at grammar:

“Loose” does not mean “lose.”

“Of coarse” does not mean “of course.”

“Your” does not mean “you’re.”

“Too” does not mean “to.”


One thought on “Deflate-gate & its grammar gaffes

  1. Cindi

    I often wonder the same about the NFL players’ grammar. The thought that many of these players attended and (graduated?) college makes me shudder. Nevermind the fact that most likely attended on scholarships! Stanford graduate and Seattle Seahawks safety Richard Sherman rhetoric makes my toes curl. He was a communications major! Disgraceful.
    Just my two cents…



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s