The “N” Word in the NFL

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By: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

By: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

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I thought it was a joke when I heard the NFL was considering making it a 15 yard penalty for players who drop the “N” bomb on the football field during games. First off, how did it just automatically become a 15 yard penalty? Is that what all the big penalties are, 15 yards? Why not a 25 yard penalty if you really want to get the brothers to stop using it? That’s what it is, black on black crime. To be sure, it’s black men using the word and directing it at other black men, not white on black. Somehow the word loses it’s sting a little when the man actually using it could be considered the word he’s using, let’s be real here! Listen, I understand how deplorable the word is to some but to others it’s “ownership” and a rule change where grown men swearing could affect a game’s outcome to me is ludicrous!

You gotta love Dan Rooney, Chairman of the Board for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Thank the man for the Rooney Rule and also for trying to eradicate the “N” word from the Pittsburgh locker room. As the story goes, players were happy to appease the old man at first because of how well he treats the black players and Coach Mike Tomlin. The word slowly crept back in, however, because it’s become part of the lexicon of the game and the men who play it. Answer honestly; have you ever heard of a league banning a word? I’ll wait. Jackie Robinson probably thought “N” word was his first name when he burst onto the scene and nobody tried to ban the word back then, let’s not start now. They’re only words, people! Would that make the sexist slur towards women or a term disrespectful to Jews NOT worth a penalty? How would officials determine exactly which player used the term in the scrum and, therefore, which team to assess the 15 yard penalty? With so many moving parts this is a terrible idea all the way around.

Roger Goodell need not try and police the way these young men talk to and about one another in the heat of the battle. If somebody on the field doesn’t like it or the way it’s being used they can do something about it on the field. If it becomes an on-going problem and not just one that stems from the Wells Report and the Incognito/Martin fiasco then check back. At this time there really is no problem to fix.

Follow Kirk on Twitter @KirkMcEwen

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