February 23, 2014

NFL may penalize N-word

In a story dripping with irony, the NFL may try to penalize players for saying the N-word.

NFL may impose 15-yard penalties for racial slurs on the field

By Michael David SmithWooten’s comments were strictly about the N-word, but if the NFL is going to implement this rule, other racial slurs would presumably be included as well, along with slurs that are homophobic, sexist or religious in nature.

However, the NFL may find such a rule tougher for its officials to implement than it sounds. Would the NFL provide every player, coach and official with a list of words that can’t be used? And who would determine which words make the list? Some slurs may be considered offensive in some contexts but not in others. Members of a racial or ethnic groups sometimes use slurs among themselves, with no offense intended or taken. If one black player uses the N-word toward another black player, and a white official hears it and throws a penalty flag, that may open a can of worms the NFL would rather avoid.

And, of course, not everyone agrees on what constitutes a racial slur. Some people consider “Redskins” a racial slur. If the NFL is so concerned about policing use of offensive words, why is one of its teams using a name that many people find offensive?

Despite all the potential problems with the rule, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the NFL implement it. The investigation into the bullying in the Dolphins’ locker room, which revealed that racial slurs were frequently used by players, made the NFL look bad. Cracking down on racial slurs could be an opportunity for the NFL to make a positive stand. Or it could turn out to be a big mess.
News flash! Redskins protest huge new burden on every play. "It's not fair that we have to go 25 yards to get a first down," said one team official.

Another columnist comments on the obvious N-word/R-word dichotomy:

How the NFL is Perpetuating Racism

By Christopher Stuart TaylorThe NFL wants to penalize players for using the N-word on the field.

The NFL is looking at first penalizing a player 15 yards on the first offense, followed by an ejection for using the N-word.

(You can still call someone the F-word, or B-word, or C-word on the field.)

I find it appalling that the NFL who has a whole team--I repeat a whole team--that is named after a racial slur against First Nations peoples, the Washington Redskins, is all of a sudden in the business of "politically correctness."
Could you use a similar slur against individual Native players? No.With the Miami Dolphins saga, you have a White man--Incognito--allegedly call his teammate, a Black man--Martin--the N-word and other derogatory terms in the locker room.

Moreover, back in November 2013, you had a Black NFL referee call a Black player the N-word (again, allegedly). In the end, the referee was suspended one game without pay. The irony of it all is that the athlete plays for the Redskins.

You think it would be acceptable if a First Nations or Native American athlete played for the Washington Redskins that a Black or White player or official called him a "redskin"?

Of course not.
Poor white players who might not be able to utter their favorite slurs!The bigger issue is that this comes down to privilege.

White people have a privilege issue with the word:

They don't like that they can't say it.

They can't call a Black person the N-word, even though they hear it in the locker room day in and day out by their teammates, some of whom are good friends off the field. They press the mute button in their heads when their favourite Minaj song comes over the radio, while their Black teammates shout in unison that "they ain't no lookin' a** n***a." Unlike Riley Cooper, they bite their tongue when they have the urge to call a Black man that wronged them on the field the N-word.

No comments: