Some of you may think I'm posting this only for the LULZ but that's not true - I find this genuinely interesting, and not just because it explains why LaMichael James isn't doing a particular celebration signal.
Apparently a number of Oregon football players take an American Sign Language class to fulfill their foreign language requirement, which makes sense - it's a different communication medium. The instructor interviewed in the NY Times has a theory as to why the players take it:
"Many of them have some sort of innate ability," she said. "They’ve been watching signals for so long, and many of the students on the team are real tactile learners with great peripheral vision."
Again, makes sense from a cognitive standpoint. But why does this mean that LaMichael James won't make the O sign?
If [making the O shape with the hand] makes some Ducks players blush, it is because [...] in sign language, the fans are saying — screaming, really — the word vagina. Twenty-nine players are enrolled in the university’s American Sign Language program. Their teacher delights in telling them the true meaning of the sign when they form a spade-shaped "O" with their hands.
"I did the ‘O’ once, and I never did it again," said LaMichael James, the team’s star running back, who recently injured his right elbow. When discussing this, James spoke quietly so that those nearby would not hear. He would not make the sign. His elbow hurt, he demurred. \
When Larson, a devoted Ducks fan, heard that James avoids making the sign, she was delighted.
"I’m so proud of him," she said. "We’re trying to spread the word to make the ‘O’ more of a rounded shape."
I tried to come up with some clever double entendre here but I can't really out pace this instructor, unintentional or not.
And in case you were wondering, yes I am eleven years old