Gay controversy erupts at Scrabble tournament

Over the use of the word LEZ.

Otherwise an acceptable abbreviation but banned by ESPN as too offensive for TV.

Regardless of any “offense” that may have been caused by a glimpse of the word “lez” on ESPN, can anyone think of anything much more boring than watching people play Scrabble? Because I’m stumped.

I was just surprised that tournament rules allowed it even though it was an abbreviation. The rules inside my scrabble box don’t.

So’m I. It’s not an acceptable word according to the Hasbro ™ online Scrabble dictionary, either. I’m also not aware that ‘LEZ’ was offensive.

Of course, some words that are allowed by that dictionary are a bit odd for being part of ‘normal, accepted, standard English.’ When was the last time you spoke of the SUQ, or AE, or even RAJ?

And why is OY a word, and GOY isn’t? Hmm?

You should check out the documentary “Word Wars” (based on the excellent book Word Freak.) I have never had such an exciting time watching Scrabble. The tension at the highest levels is the same as it is at any national championship sporting event. The movie also discusses how the official Scrabble dictionary is compiled.

Fishing shows. At least with Scrabble, there’s something to read.

I liked this bit from Otto’s linked article:

Yeah, to the 1950s.

Much as I love them, ESPN televises cheerleading, poker, hunting, fishing, and spelling bees. I can’t really be surprised at Scrabble.

Not to mention Magic: The Gathering.

I take it you can only see Scrabble on ESPN 8: The Ocho, right?

They had a jumprope competition on either ESPN or ESPN2 within the past year. It was decently entertaining, but … jumprope? I can understand catering to a certain demgraphic (which, Og bless, seems to watch a lot of TV at 6 AM and not much other time of day) with the fishing show, but who beyond Joe Random-Boredman (speaking!) is going to watch jumprope?

In the UK I got a lot of laughs out of watching the televised darts. Best of all though, were the sheep dog trials.

And for a combination of the two: what do you call a fish with no eyes?


I dunno, there are entire networks devoted to golf and car racing.

I do have to wonder who they were afraid of insulting. Uptight nimrods who freak out over the slightest suggestion of anything not strictly hetero, or trigger-happy gay activists who might suddenly decide that “lez” is a slur?

There is a list of expurgated words from the official scrabble players dictionary. They were removed as part of a movement to encourage Scrabble play as a learning aid in elementary schools.

After a lot of work, the National Scrabble Association worked out an agreement to televise an all star match last fall, based in part to the success of “Word Freak”. It got pretty good ratings, thus ESPN decided to film the finals of this year’s National Scrabble Championship, which is a semi-annual event.

As part of the deal, the 100 or so words that are normally allowable were not to be played in the final best of 5 match that would determine the champion. Both players knew this ahead of time. But in the heat of moment, one forgot.

They also show pool tournaments.

As for the actual issue:
First of all, there should be a list of “words that ARE real words but AREN’T okay in Scrabble,” instead of a board that decides for each case. Secondly, there’s a big difference between a drama where someone says, “You’re such a lez!” and a word game where someone says, basically, “This is a valid English word which is playable according to the rules and current board arrangement of this game, so I am playing it.”

I give this whole deal three and a half :rolleyes:'s

The great thing about the dope is, no matter how off the wall the question, it’s amazing how often someone like ataraxy22 will come along and post some real knowledge of the topic!

Perhaps ESPN will someday televise our fight against ignorance!

Harriet, I do believe you’ve just started a great joke thread.

[golf announcer voice]
That’s an incredibly risky move NoClueBoy just made. This won’t sit well with the Dopers, they’re going to tear him apar… Oh! My! God! He’s got a Cite! a Cite!
[/golf announcer voice]

Didn’t see this telecast, but was it just US players, or international. Because there are two official Scrabble dictionaries. “LEZ” could be one of those words allowed in international play, but not in US tournaments.


Fat lot you know! I never use cites.

And here’s proof.

Still…, it is a funny idea for a thread…