In March, the NFL competition committee will likely approve a rule that penalizes any player that uses the N-word on the field, according to reports. While the specific penalty hasn’t been confirmed yet, a 15-yard penalty is what has been discussed the most. So far, most of the media has come out in favor of the ban, as have some of the players.
But the NFL’s proposed ban isn’t “brave” or “progressive” or “a cause for celebration.”
Ignore for a minute all the comical possibilities and things that can go wrong when a referee announces this infraction to a stadium full of 75,000 people.
Ignore for a minute that a group of owners, which doesn’t contain a single African-American, and a white commissioner are telling a league of predominately African-American players that they aren’t allowed to use a word that many feel — rightly or wrongly — is a part of their culture.
But, don’t for a second ignore that the NFL is trying to ban one particular slur, while fervently defending and celebrating another.
Apparently, there’s no place for the N-word on an NFL field. But there are numerous places for the term “Redskins” in the NFL: On hats, shirts, jerseys, helmets, beer glasses, sweat pants, license plates, dog collars, wallets, watches, comforters, flags, chairs and coolers, just to name a few.
But why would the NFL support one racial slur and suddenly be so vehemently against another? And make no mistake, no matter how Commissioner Roger Goodell or Washington Owner Dan Snyder and his PR team try to spin it, “Redskins” is a repugnant and derogatory term on par with the N-word. Any word that stereotypes entire ethnic groups based on physical characteristics in an attempt to differentiate the speaker from the target of that word is offensive. Scholars, Native American groups, and Congress have all spoke out against the term and pressured the NFL and Snyder to change the name of the team.
But, in the eyes of the NFL, there’s a huge difference between the N-word and the R-word. The NFL can’t and will never be able to make any money off of the N-word. But the R-word? There’s a whole lot of money to be made off the R-word, no matter how much it dehumanizes and pains an entire group of people.
So go ahead and applaud the NFL if you want. But the hypocritical stance of the league isn’t worthy of praise; it’s worthy of derision. Ban every racial and homophobic slur, without picking and choosing only those that won’t hurt your bottom line.
As things currently stand, there’s only one reasonable response to the league’s current selective morality. (Skip to 0:32 and replace “queen” with “league” to get my true sentiments)
Previously from Charlie Crespo:
♦ We Cast “Space Jam 2” (You’re Welcome, Warner Bros.)
♦ Viral Video of the Week: Brilliant Kids Make Us Feel Dumb
♦ The Quest to Determine 2014’s Signature Food: Doritos Loaded Announces its Candidacy
♦ Viral Video of the Week: What Should We Think About These Rapping Teachers?
♦ The Strange Saga of “Flappy Bird”