NFL Expected to Penalize Players For Use of N-word During Game – Why Stop There? [POLL]
We’re living pivotal times. Old norms are being questioned; and in some cases discarded like yesterday’s trash.
Enter the new reality – where political correctness abounds.
Openly gay players could soon be filling the ranks of the 4 major sports – and with that, one can very easily be taken to task for saying what was once thought of as commonplace.
Like the use of the N-word. (Just ask Paula Deen!)
Call it societal evolution, and no, it’s not a bad thing.
But one has to consider if, for instance, the rule being considered by NFL big wigs will be practical in its enforcement – and will really go a long way in changing the culture of what always has been something of a “locker room mentality!” complete with trash talking athletes!
In a groundbreaking move, the league is expected to agree to start penalizing players 15 yards for uttering the racial slur (N-bomb) on the field, according to the group that monitors diversity in the league.
John Wooten, chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, said the rule will likely be adopted by the NFL competition committee at March’s owners meetings.
“I will be totally shocked if the competition committee does not uphold us on what we’re trying to do,” Wooten said, according to CBSSports.com. “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.”
Wooten expects the NFL to push for an automatic 15-yard penalty for first-time offenders. A second offense would result in an ejection.
“I think they’re going to do what needs to be done here,” he said. “There is too much disrespect in the game.”
Retired Giants star Harry Carson, who is now the executive director of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, told the Daily News that a rule allowing officials to penalize players for using the N-word is “already in place.”
The word is considered unsportsmanlike conduct, Carson said.
“I think there is going to be a higher emphasis placed on it,” Carson said, adding that his group met with league officials last season to discuss use of the epithet.
“It needs to be put a halt to in the locker room, on the field, whether it’s staff, whether it’s a player, there is no room for it,” the Giants legend added.
“I don’t think it’s any new rule that we are pushing for because we have been told by the league that the penalty is there. It just has to be assessed if it is used.”
Word of the proposed rule drew mixed reviews from NFL-obsessed New Yorkers.
Giants fan Brian Ellis, 32, called it absurd.
“I am sure that word gets thrown around all the time every game so how would you even enforce that?” said Ellis, of Jackson Heights, Queens.
“Talking s--- is a part of the game,” added Ellis, while hanging out at the Brooklyn sports bar Union Grounds in Carroll Gardens.
“I don’t think it should be banned.”
Ellis’ buddy, Rob Ruehle, agreed.
“There are no other sports leagues that ban freedom of speech,” said Ruehle, 32, of Manhattan. “So why would the NFL do it?”
“I think the whole idea is stupid,” he added.
But Philadelphia Eagles fan Dave Cooperman, 33, said that he doesn’t have a problem with the NFL taking action against players who use the slur.
“There are a lot of ways to trash talk without saying certain words to people,” said Cooperman, who lives on the Upper East Side.
“People will adjust to the rules quickly. The players will learn to comply with the rules.”
On social media, reaction to the proposed rule was a mix of surprise and skepticism.
“If they penalize players for saying the N-word.. The highest NFL score will be 8 to 2.. With negative 700 in total yardage..” wrote one user.
It’s hard to know how often the N-word is used on the field, but it was a prominent off-field issue for the league this season.
The use of the slur by NFL players was thrust into the spotlight in late July when a video surfaced showing Eagles receiver Riley Cooper yelling the epithet at a concert.
Just a few months later, it was part of the controversy in the Miami Dolphins locker room mess.
The N-word was part of a barrage of bullying texts Richie Incognito hurled at Jonathan Martin. In one, Incognito referred to Martin, who is biracial, as a “half-n-----.”
And then in November, an NFL game official was suspended for one game without pay after making “a profane and derogatory statement” to a Washington Redskins player during a game.
Left tackle Trent Williams later said that the N-word was not among the vulgar language uttered by umpire Roy Ellison.
But the incident prompted the Fritz Pollard Alliance to issue a statement imploring all NFL players to stop using the racial slur.
But why stop there? Since there’s a very real possibility gay players will join the league, why not throw in the “f-bomb” for gays, the “s-bomb” for Hispanics, the “c-bomb” for Asians, etc.
And while we’re on the subject, since much of this comes under the heading of “trash talk” – then include trash talking - whatever form that takes - as part of the penalty.
As you can tell, there could probably be some unintended consequences – like the subjective nature of the comments and who’s making them. Who’s hearing the comments? How much longer will this make games last?
And is it really possible to break the cycle of “camaraderie” that many players feel for each other by feeling free enough to call each other names that generally are frowned upon in society?
But there’s no stopping this train!