The NFL Competition Committee has been engaged in talks since last Friday, discussing a variety of issues important to the league. One such matter is the proposed 15-yard penalty on players using the “N-word” on the field. Seattle Seahawks player Richard Sherman (pictured) is against the ban of the word, calling the potential rule “almost racist” in an interview.
According to Sports Illustrated’s MMBQ, there remains a chance that the N-word ban may not go into effect but there could be a higher focus on language during games by officials. As it stands, the committee will weigh the option of referees giving players a warning before issuing any deeper penalties.
Sherman, the outspoken defensive player and All-Pro, feels such a ban is unnecessary. The Stanford graduate and Compton native shared his thoughts with MMBQ in his typical brash fashion.
“It’s an atrocious idea,” said Sherman. “It’s almost racist, to me. It’s weird they’re targeting one specific word. Why wouldn’t all curse words be banned then?”
Sherman supported his argument by saying that the tone of the word and how it’s used determines the racist nature of the word. Sherman argues that using the n-word with “er” is offensive versus ending it with “ga,” which is used often as a term of endearment among many African-Americans. Sherman isn’t the only player who feels that n-word ban is too bold a step for the NFL.
“It’s a common word in so many players’ everyday lives,” said Tennessee cornerback Jason McCourty. “Among African-American players and people, it’s used among friends all the time. It seems like a bit much for the NFL to try to get rid of it.”
Another player didn’t outright support the use of the word, but did add that officials already have to watch a series of actions on the field during the contests and now will have to monitor the mouths of players, too.
The Fritz Pollard Alliance, a group that has been at the forefront of promoting equality and diversity in the NFL, has led the charge in getting the N-word removed from the game. Alliance chairman John Wooten, a former NFL All-Pro, and executive director Harry Carson, a NFL Hall Of Fame inductee, both endured racism, especially Carson, who was raised in South Carolina.
Carson and Wooten said they are taken aback that players have been resistant to their idea, and added that current African-American players dishonor themselves and others before them by using the term.