When Michael Sam came out my first thought was how the NFL could possibly be ready for a gay player when the league insists on keeping Washington’s blatantly racist team name, for years hid evidence of the concussion crisis and does nothing to change its tax-exempt status. Not to mention that there are accused murderers, ex-rapists, convicted criminals and gun-toting wife beaters beating the pulp out of each other every Sunday for our viewing pleasure.
Now, as if the hypocrisy could not get any bigger, the NFL could potentially enact a 15-yard penalty for players on the field who use the N word racial slur. Does anyone else see the hypocrisy in the NFL penalizing use of the N word on the field while at the same time seeing no problem with the racial slur name of the Washington football team? What a joke. You can’t be for the R word while at the same time being against the N word. It makes a mockery of the NFL’s attempt to eliminate offensive language to promote the dictionary-defined racial slur name of the Washington football team.
Merriam-Webster uses the same definition for the N word and R word — “usually offensive.” That right. The racial slur name of the Washington football team is defined the same way the N word is, yet one word is unacceptable in modern society while the other is somehow totally fine with a large segment of society and a professional sports league making millions off the racial slur name.
And how hypocritical is the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which monitors diversity in the NFL, for advocating the league to penalize the N word while there is only silence regarding the R word and the F word in reference to homosexuals? “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,” said John Wooten, head of Fritz Pollard Alliance. Okay. Great. But how can the Fritz Pollard Alliance and the NFL justify a penalty on the N word while there is a team in the same league with a racial slur name and racist mascot on its uniform?
The criteria for a racial slur should be whether you would say that word to the face of the person it describes. No one would walk up to an African-American and greet him or her with the N word. And you wouldn’t walk up to a Native American man or woman with the greeting, “Hey! What’s up R word!” And you certainly wouldn’t approach a gay man or woman with the F word.
Until the league takes the same hard line approach to other slurs like the R word and the F word, penalizing the N word will be seen as the hypocritical joke that it is. And one more thing: Pay your taxes, NFL!