Joe Rogan Apologizes on the Underground

LAS VEGAS - MAY 28: UFC fighter Rashad Evans (R) reacts to the crowd while speaking to UFC announcer Joe Rogan (L) about his fight against UFC fighter Quinton "Rampage" Jackson at UFC 114: Rampage versus Rashad at the Mandalay Bay Hotel on May 28, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

Joe Rogan returned to the Underground to discuss his use of some choice words for Yahoo! MMA blogger Maggie Hendricks. I think Joe, in an attempt to explain himself, digs himself into a deeper hole here, as it seems that he doesn't understand why he came under fire. 

To wit:

Never did I imagine that so many people would get their panties in a bunch about the use of the word "c*nty" to describe a female blogger, but in this "gotcha" era of online "journalism" we find ourselves in any controversy that can be exploited to fill headlines and pad mandatory blog obligations will be pursued to the extreme.

You can't sit down at your computer, type up a lengthy message board post, and then turn around and claim "gotcha journalism." No one put Joe Rogan on the spot. He volunteered his thoughts on a public forum, and a bunch of people called him out on it. 

As for "exploiting controversy," I'll leave it at this: Brent's post yesterday is still our most trafficked piece today. It's an issue that people want to read about. To quote Kid Nate, "The UFC sells pay-per-views. We sell page views."

My use of the word "c*nty" in retrospect was unfortunate, and more of a symptom of my stand up comic vernacular than what more verbally conservative people would interpret the word as. "C*nty" is just another word for bitchy.

It means exactly the same thing to me, it's just that "c*nty" sounds better and is more fun to use.

I can sympathize with Rogan here. As an entertainer, I grant Rogan leeway in his vernacular, especially when he's on his podcast or doing standup. That's part of the gig.

However, the game changes when we enter the world of fight sport and interacting with the media. Joe, whether he wants to admit it or not, acts as a representative of the UFC. He, behind Dana White, is arguably the most visible face of the organization.

So, when Joe calls Maggie Hendricks (or her writing) "c*nty" he does so as Joe Rogan, UFC broadcaster, and not Joe Rogan, professional comedian. And I believe he is smart enough to understand that distinction.

The term "bitchy" to describe the style of the writer in question and her take on things is both accurate and appropriate.

Changing the word from extremely offensive to moderately offensive doesn't make things better. Again, I can sympathize with him here. I suspect that Joe and I largely agree on words and offensiveness and etc.

But again, you have to remain cognizant of your environment. I'm not going to scream slurs at a NAACP meeting, and I'm not going to demean female members of the media with words like "c*nty" or "bitchy." 

You can disagree with Hendricks, you can lambast her views for being overly sensitive or poorly written or opportunistic or however you feel about her work, without resorting to personal insults, let alone language that steps over the line.

Rogan then posts a couple of pieces from Hendricks at Cagewriter. For the sake of formatting, you can find the links in the Underground post. One is critical of Rogan and Goldberg's commentary at UFC 105, done in almost TWIQ-like fashion, and the other is a very short blurb about Stephen Quadros' appearance at a Showtime event.

Is that journalism? Is that good writing? Is that the kind of thing you could stumble upon while reading the New York Times? Would it make a fine entry in FIGHT magazine? Is sports illustrated pissed off that they missed out on publishing these gems? No, it's bitchy bullshit. "C*nty" writing, if you will.

So, despite calling his use of the word "c*nty" unfortunate, he reinforces it later on. OK.

Then Rogan sets up the classic straw man about blogging where he compares it to more "established' institutions like the New York Times. He continues:

The sport of Mixed Martial Arts is fairly new, and one of the very first sports to be supported and defined by new media. We have an extraordinary amount of websites dedicated to the sport, and in the dark days of being exiled from cable television these sites (including the one I'm posting this on, mixedmartialarts.com) helped keep this sport alive.

Now that the sport is incredibly popular and thriving however, we've reached this saturation point where anyone with a website that writes about this sport wants to be considered a "journalist." People that 20 years ago wouldn't have a shot in hell at a career in writing are now demanding to be taken seriously with their snarky, poorly thought out offerings.

I find the "snarky, poorly thought out offerings" comment incredibly apropos here, no?

And the old "anyone with a website" argument. This argument has been cut to shred numerous times by people more articulate than myself, but sites (and individual writers) don't maintain readership bases by mindlessly publishing content. The internet provides websites and writers a platform for meritocracy. 

If you publish things people want to read, if you establish trust with your readers, you will grow. If every asshat with a keyboard could put together a popular MMA site, we'd have a lot more competition.

This sport is infested with these people, and what they're going to have to realize is that if they want to be writers and they want their stuff to be read and ingested than they themselves must become public figures in the process, and that includes being s*** on for what you put out there. The illusion of anonymity and a lack of repercussions available to the subjects of your work is a thing of the past.

Again. Apropos. The Underground isn't an anonymous internet forum, and what you say on there is subject to public criticism.

My apologies to Maggie Hendricks for calling her "c*nty," and I truly hope I didn't hurt her feelings. My forum post was honest and off the cuff, and I didn't think out the possible reactions to it. I don't know the woman, and I'm sure she's probably a nice person in real life, but if I have a point with any of this it's that when you put negative s*** out there in the form of bitchy blog posts, that shit is going to come right back at you, and you better not be surprised.

When I first read this, I thought it was another half-hearted apology that is typical of these situations. I even had the title all lined up: "Joe Rogan and the Non-Apology Apology." There's been a lot of criticism on Twitter about the apology, but upon reading it a second time, I think it's legit.

He comes right out and apologizes to Hendricks for what he did. I think a lot of people are reading this as "I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings," which I don't think is what's going on here. I think Rogan is being genuine here. I don't think he fully understands the criticism he has received, but I do think this is an honest attempt at extending the olive branch to Hendricks. 

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