Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Use of the N-Word


By Stefan Anderson

The National Football League is considering implementing a 15-yard penalty for the use of a discriminatory racial slur during a game. The league plans to institute a rule by which players would be penalized 15 yards for using discriminatory words on the field, especially the N-word, a second violation could result in an ejection. I believe is a great way to tarnish this harmful word, this rule will cause more controversy than change.

Following incidents like Riley Cooper or even Jonathon Martin vs. Richie Incognito, the word has been prevalent in the NFL, which is not the right message to sell to the billion dollar industry. No matter how the word is used in context, whether it is nigger or nigga, the term is used for two different reasons.  In the past the word nigger was used to insult and caused a lot of harm to African Americans. Insult to injury as considered by many, the word nigga is used as a term of endearment and way many youth greet and communicate with each other.

The new rule could be one that could inspire professionalism and inspire a new generation to abolish with the N-Word, with the lasting impact that the NFL has. This rule will terrible for the game as well promote racism as well. When you watch NFL games in today’s age, how many games are turned by little penalties like Pass Interferences, Roughing the Passer and Defenseless Receiver. Adding a penalty for the N- Word could not only change the gameplay of the game but also change the outcome of the game. How will referees be able to manage the call while paying attention to the game play and make the proper calls? It will be beyond hard to make a judgment on that call and when to call it and not to call it.

Imagine your favorite player, who is of African American decent gets a big first down to clinch a game for his team and then celebrates for his efforts and yells “ Yeah, Nigga” out of excitement and momentum he gets penalized for 15 yards and/or gets ejected for showing emotion. That would be outrageous, wouldn’t it be? In a league, where the majority of the players are African-Americans, who will be called for the penalty? Exactly. Imagine how much uproar will start if a Caucasian or other ethnicity uses the racial slur and is called for that penalty. The rule will be geared towards African-Americans, and prove the segregation and racism that still exists today.

As an African American male, I have used the term “nigga” before and use it with some of my associates but I do not use it to disrespect any of my ancestors, but as way to acknowledge each other as we do in our respective communities. I do not believe it that harmful to use it with one another but when it used to degrade one another, you have to find a way to clean up the issue and ultimately get rid of it.

Ultimately, I do agree with the implantation of the rule but I think it should be implanted in the locker rooms instead of the field. I agree with the NFL way of trying to get rid of the racial slur in order to create a healthier locker room and league, while promoting professionalism. The rule will be not good for the game of football, which the fans and players enjoy and this rule will do more bad for the league than good for it.

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