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Does the Trash-Talking Ban Violate Freedom of Speech? [POLL]

The next war will not be fought with chemicals, or weapons or even sticks and stones. In the next war, the enemy will line up on our beaches (which they will pay a fee to be on) and simply call us names and we will shrivel up and die.

Flickr user JamieL.Williams

Apparently in 2013, names can really hurt you. So much so that New Jersey has imposed a ban on biased language at high school football games.

We’re not only talking about the players, but the fans in the stands as well. In fact, if you drop the “N-word” the referees must report the infraction to the states governing body for high school athletics, which then passes the players name and “violation” on to the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights in the Attorney General’s office.  Somewhere I must have  missed the part where words became violations.

I am in no way a racist, nor would I ever use that word. In fact if it were up to me, no one regardless of race would use it, but don’t we already have “unsportsmanlike conduct” to handle this?  Are the referees, coaches and players not capable of policing themselves?

I was under the impression that we had freedom of speech in this country and that you were entitled to your opinion, even if you’re opinion is racist or homophobic. Your opinion may be something that I and many others totally disagree with, but you are entitled to it. In fact many fought and died so that you can have it. That doesn’t mean that you’re not going to suffer the repercussions of those who disagree with you, you may be shunned by society, but you are not breaking the law, until now.

If the constitution guarantees you freedom of speech, then how can you be suspended and labeled a racist all the way to the Attorney General’s office? Some of these may be kids who make the mistake of saying something they are told not to say just because they are so angry in the moment and can now carry that with them the rest of their lives.

Will the state be offering diversity classes to players so that they understand the impact of their words? If the player is truly repentant for what they say can their name ever be removed from the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights in the State’s Attorney General’s office? Is this something that will show up on your record when applying for a job later on in life.

Remember that old saying, sticks and stones may break your bones, now names can really hurt you.  Thoughts?

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