Racial Slurs and Sex Plays a Role in the NFL

St. Scholastica's Student Newspaper
The Cable
By: Andre Smith-Hill  - Student Journalist -
Photo credit to members.jacksonville.com

Photo credit to members.jacksonville.com

As time moves on, society becomes more progressive with each passing day. There are many people still alive today who experienced racism on a large, societal scale. We as a country have come a long way pertaining to where we once were. But, has the NFL taken their next step in dealing with racism too far?

There is talk within the league that starting this coming football season, there will be a 15-yard penalty for every time the, "N-word," is used either on the field or on the sidelines. In theory this penalty seems to make sense. It's not an outlandish rule that players would not be able to use a racial slur on the football field. However, there are people within the league that see this as unjust.

"Banning the ‘N-word' is an atrocious idea," said Richard Sherman, cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks. "It's almost racist, to me. Why wouldn't all the curse words be banned then?"

At one point in history, the, "N-word," was used to specifically, for a white person, impose their will onto the black race. In the generation we currently are in, it is a word that is heard regularly. If you listen to a rap/hip-hop song or even turn on a T.V. show, you are more than likely to hear the word used and nobody blinks an eye. This is evidence that times are changing and things don't mean what they once did. That being said, it is general knowledge that is would not be acceptable for a white person to say the, "N-word," to a black person. So although times have changed, there are still, "rules and regulations."

The NFL believes the rule will help to put a halt to racism within the league, but some people are skeptical. Ryan Clark, a former receiver for the Pittsburg Stealers, spoke on the issue.

"I think it's going to be really tough to legislate this [N-word] rule," said Clark. "And it's not going to be white players using it toward black players. Most of the time you hear it, it's black players using the word."

So now we could be getting into the territory of freedom of speech, which will surely cause controversy. This is an issue that we as a society may never reach a happy medium on. For so long now, it has been socially allowed. Now all of the sudden, the NFL wants to put an immediate stop to the usage of this word.

Another controversy the NFL is dealing with has to do with the gay rights. This time, Michael Sam is not at the heart of the conversation. Arizona state legislators recently attempted to have a bill passed that said businesses, because of religious beliefs, could deny service to customers who were gay/lesbian. In other words, if a store owner thought a person to be gay or lesbian (just on the way they look for instance) they could kick them out of their store and the law would back them up.

Now this law was never passed, but it still says a lot about the State of Arizona. Why is this a big deal for the NFL? Because Superbowl 49 is set to take place in Arizona. If this bill were passed, then could a gay person who bought a ticket to the Superbowl be denied access? Even more, should the NFL take a stand against the state legislators at a time when they are becoming more progressive? The NFL has taken a strong stand in saying they fully support the LGBT community and are for equal rights.

There has been talk since the creating of the bill of moving the Superbowl. It wouldn't seem too difficult seeing as any state would love to get their hands on a money-maker event like that. But, since the bill was not passed, there have been no actions taken against the state of Arizona by the NFL.

Lately it seems that there is more focus on controversy surrounding the NFL than there is actual football games being prepared for. Not to say any of it is uncalled for, but fans across the nation want the NFL to figure out these problems and deal with them appropriately. Hopefully, it will get to the point where nobody feels that their rights are being trampled on, and we can get back to the basics, like finding a way to draft Teddy Bridgewater in the first round.