I have to tell you I am not sure what to make of this talk that the National Football League is close to deciding to ban the use of the N-word by players on the field.
It almost sounds comical to think about it. The NFL is about 70 percent black and, interestingly, most of those using the word on the field or in the locker room are actually black players referring to or taunting other black players. I think in that environment the white players aren’t generally crazy enough to be throwing that word around on a field that is mostly black.
So it is just so darn ironic that it is an attempt to stop largely black players from calling each other that word. That is just great. I think. Without even hearing it through the television when watching games, I can just imagine how much many of the players, who routinely taunt each other on the field and talk smack about each other during hyped up moments before and after the game, must throw around this bomb that is the N-word. I can’t imagine it is just once or twice, otherwise there wouldn’t be this discussion at all about banning it.
The proposed plan is to institute a 15-yard penalty when a player on the field utters that word. Can you imagine what the referee’s hand gesture might be for indicating the penalty? They could really have some fun with this one. Or what the announced call will be when he announces to the TV audience what the penalty was. “Fifteen-yard penalty for use of the N-word.” This is just too funny.
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Look, I am not trying to make light of the idea that the N-word is a heavy word to be throwing around, whether it is in football, the general public, or the rap world, where a whole lot of people, including many blacks, say it is used way too much. Oh and of course I know, I am supposed to recognize the difference between the N-word spelled with an “a” at the end versus the N-word with “er” at the end. But that is silly. The root is the same for both, and in the case of the NFL players throwing it at each other on the field, the “a” on the end does not mean it is being used in a hello how are you kind of way.
But my problem is that I don’t think you can legislate or throw a flag for bad language or the use of a word. What’s next, banning the use of swearing in general? The NFL is not golf or tennis. It is not a gentlemanly sport. The NFL already has a penalty for unsportsmanlike behavior. I suppose they can just roll bad language into that one if that want. Or go ahead and add this new flag for being a potty mouth.
The other problematic aspect of this potential move in the NFL is that the talk is about going even beyond the field, sidelines and locker room, and extending it to all areas of players and personnel.
According to John Wooten, head of a group that monitors diversity in the NFL, and who has also been an advocate for the banning of the word, through the NFL’s competition committee, “We want this word to be policed from the parking lot to the equipment room to the locker room. Secretaries, PR people, whoever, we want it eliminated completely and want it policed everywhere.”
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Now that is completely crazy. How in the world do they expect to penalize that? The bottom line is that I wish the word would go away also, and that blacks themselves would stop using it, because I do think that blacks are fooling themselves into thinking that by replacing the “er” with an “a” they have changed the meaning of the word. But throwing a flag on it is not the way to go and not going to make a big difference. The penalty for the use of the word has to start way before players get to the field. All I know is I am glad the microphones on the players is muted for viewers. It must be a symphony of swear words and yes N-word usage down there. But guys are knocking each other’s heads off on the field. And we want to penalize bad language? Give me a break.
I don’t think this is the place for censoring their language.
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