The eNd-Word

The NFL is expected to meet and discuss the possibility of a rule penalizing players for using the "N-Word" in-game.

Chicago+Bears+outside+linebacker+Lance+Briggs+%2855%29+talks+with+a+referee+after+a+touchdown+by+Philadelphia+Eagles+tight+end+Brent+Celek+%2887%29+in+the+first+quarter+at+Lincoln+Financial+Field+in+Philadelphia%2C+Sunday%2C+Dec.+22%2C+2013.+The+Eagles+beat+the+Bears%2C+54-11.+%28Chris+Sweda%2FChicago+Tribune%2FMCT%29

(Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/MCT)

Chicago Bears outside linebacker Lance Briggs (55) talks with a referee after a touchdown by Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek (87) in the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013. The Eagles beat the Bears, 54-11. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/MCT)

Whether it’s Riley Cooper, Richie Incognito, Kobe Bryant, or Joakim Noah, the use of slurs in sports has created a huge controversy over the past few years. With all the complaints regarding these slurs in sports, some people believe there should be an in-game punishment implemented.

The head of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which monitors diversity in the NFL, is one of those people. John Wooten, the head of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, expects the league to enforce a rule where players would be penalized 15 yards for using the N-word on the field.
“I will be totally shocked if the competition committee does not uphold us on what we’re trying to do,” Wooten said, according to CBSSports.com. “We want this word to be policed from the parking lot to the equipment room to the locker room. Secretaries, PR people, whoever, we want it eliminated completely and want it policed everywhere.”

The reality of that may be a little farfetched. Policing a word that is used so often by players in the game will be tough. Meanwhile, the Washington (censored) get to keep a racial slur as a team name. Do they get penalized every play until they change it?
“I feel like they’re just creating more problems by passing it.” Said head coach of the Santaluces varsity football team Jason Bradley.

But the rule change is progress. Despite all the negative backlash the rule has brought amongst fans and players alike, this would be a positive step towards cleaning up the image of the NFL. It’s no different than when the NBA implemented a policy that required players to dress like young professionals.

These professional players are role models to many kids, and if the owners don’t do anything to control these slurs, they’ll remain mainstream for a long time. That’s not to say that cleaning up the racial slurs from sports would stop the slurs from coming up everywhere else, but it is a start.

If the NFL and NBA accept these rule changes and enforce the new penalties, college and high school sports will soon follow. However some people, like Coach Bradley, are against the rule change trickling down to the high school level.
“We’ve never really had a problem with [the N-word] here at Santaluces,” he said, “some people are brought up differently and just have a different vernacular.”

Meanwhile, others believe it should start at the high school level. Terrence Atkinson, who works as head coach of the boys track team and as an assistant coach for the varsity basketball at Santaluces, supports the new rule change.
“I think [the N-word] is a huge problem,” said Coach Atkinson, “All kids use it. Blacks, whites, hispanics- everyone. I think it’s a good rule, because if you know the word is bad there’s no way to justify it.”

It’s obvious the new rule change has created a huge controversy in the sports world. But if nothing is done now, what will these major sport commissioners do next time a racial or homosexual slur from one of their players hits the Nation’s media?