Vulgar language is and always will be a part of the NFL. You hear it in the locker rooms. You hear it on the field. If you sit close enough, you can even hear it from the stands. That could change as the NFL is now trying to curb some of that language by instituting a 15-yard penalty for using the N-word.
John Wooten, the head of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, anticipates that the NFL’s competition committee will enact the rule at the owners’ meeting next month.
I have numerous issues with this rule. While I like where the NFL’s head is at, there are some fundamental problems with this penalty.
Firstly, just because players don’t say the N-word, it doesn’t mean they don’t believe in it. You could be a bigot or a racist and just not say the N-word. Then again, you certainly are a racist if you use the N-word (when used in a demeaning manor).
However, rules don’t change people’s opinions. They may not be able to say it on the field, but they can still think it. It takes more than a 15-year penalty to change one’s beliefs.
Secondly, why are we stopping at the N-word? What about Jew? What about the K-word or the C-word or any other word defaming another race? Sooner or later, if this rule passes, you know other activists will come out and push for a similar penalty. African-Americans are not the only ones who felt the brunt of horrible racism over the past millennium.
Given the whole Michael Sam announcement and the Miami Dolphins saga, I can see why the NFL would consider implementing a rule like this. Nonetheless, it will not only hurt the game we all love and adore, but perhaps open the doors to other insane penalties fans won’t stand for.
NFL, do yourself a favor and take this proposed penalty off the agenda. You have better things to worry about.