N-Word vs. R-Word

Updated: March 5, 2014

Gary Norris Gray- BASN Staff Reporter

We are in the year 2014 and the National Football League instituted a new 15 yard penalty or an ejection to players using the N-Word. Many think the league might have more pressing problems and could have done more like changing The Washington Football Club’s name, the concussion problem, retired player’s pensions, and the league hiring practice of minority head coaches.

This is political correctness running amuck and it shows the hypocrisies in the National Football League. You can’t say the N-Word because it will cost your team 15 yards but you can call every player on the Washington Football Club the R-Word. REALLY?

John F. Banzhaf of The George Washington School of Law explains this and it’s plain and simple.

 ‘ Eliminating racism and the use of racist language from the NFL is a worthy and long overdue  goal, but it cannot be confined to just one race. The use of the word “n*ggers” is reprehensible, especially in this day and age, but so are the use of words like “ch*nks,” “w*tbacks,” “r*gheads,” and “r*dskins.”

There are many other reasons why the NFL put this rule in place. The Commissioner and owners are looking at the future of the league.

1) Installing microphones on the sidelines, huddles, and locker-rooms.

Can’t have the little children in prime time hearing those four letter words but the R-Word is still acceptable. HMMMMM!!!!

2)  Expand to Europe.

3)  Expand to a 17 game-18 week season.

4)  Expand the playoffs.

At the same time the NFL supports a team in our nation’s capitol, Washington D.C., with the most despicable name on the planet.

As my colleague Michael Louis Ingram (Soul Tree Radio In The Raw) has stated many times, “This is a publicity stunt and is as profane as it can be”. This is to reign in Black players from using this word.

As my other colleague from WCLM 1450 FM Richmond, Virginia, Reggie Howell states, “I digress”.
This word should be abolished from the American vocabulary because of its definition.

1. Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive.

a black person.

a member of any dark-skinned people.

2. Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive. a person of any race or origin regarded as contemptible, inferior, ignorant, etc.

3. a victim of prejudice similar to that suffered by blacks; a person who is   economically, politically, or socially disenfranchised.


1640–50;  < French nègre  < Spanish negro  black

 The NFL is trying to legislate what Black players can say or cannot say on the field. But there is a distinct difference when a Black player uses the word with the N***aa, it’s a term of endearment, friendship, and comroddary but when a white player uses the word with a N***er, this could be detrimental, derogatory, and racial. How do you enforce this law? Is there a secret language police?

The turmoil in The Miami Dolphin Football Camp stemmed from players not respecting each other and calling each other these names. In fact it cost two players their jobs.

Young African American players don’t understand the historical context of this word as the Huffington Post points out.

So it’s the black players who’d get the flag. And they should for the very reason that several NFL players, when asked about it, have declared the proposed ban DOA with the shrug and a quip, “Hey, it’s part of the culture.” Culture? That’s the problem.

The fallback argument against an NFL ban is that it’s ridiculous to try and regulate a player’s speech, and besides there’s the First Amendment that gives anyone license to say pretty much whatever they want as long as they don’t libel someone or act on their venomous words.

There should also be a 15 yard penalty for every coach, general manager, and owner that also utters this word as well as a fine for networks. As it stands now, the players take all of the brunt of this new legislation, which does not seem fair or right.

Could this be why the NFL made this move? The NFL is currently focusing on the N-Word, and the Black hip hop culture, and not the R-Word which is equally unacceptable.

European sports organizations have told the National Football League that they will not accept the Washington Football Club on their soil nor will they accept the foul language players use on the field. This is why the NFL made this move. In the European Futbol (Soccer) Leagues players are suspended for up to 5 games for this kind of conduct.

The NFL can do much better.


Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian. Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove on Blogtalkradio.com Disabled Community Activist.

Email at garyngray@blackathlete.com

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