NFL to police use of N-word?

Published: Feb 23, 2014 16:38pm EST
By Jeff Kryglik, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Feb 23, 2014 @ 04:38pm EST


It's something that's become as common in our culture as eggs and bacon or butter on bread.

The N-word has become prevalent now more than ever in popular culture and society with the way it is thrown around in locker rooms, music, and everyday life that it almost seems impossible to eliminate whole-heartedly at this stage of the 21st century.

The NFL is pondering the idea. 

According to, the NFL's competition committee, along with the Fritz Pollard Alliance, are looking to make an official rule at next month's owners' meeting where using the N-word on the field will result in a 15-yard penalty.The Fritz Pollard Alliance oversees diversity issues in the NFL and hopes that the rule will entail a 15-yard penalty the first time around and an ejection for a second-time offense.

On the forefront, this sounds like a great idea. Bad language between the white lines is something that is tossed around like a football at a tailgate party. 

The problem? How can the NFL police this on a regular basis when so many players are throwing the word around for a variety of reasons?

This isn't just limited to African American players either... i.e.. Riley Cooper.

This word is one of the most degrading words to ever sprout from the English language. The term has no positive connotation. It's hard to even muster saying it without feeling some sort of hatred come out of your insides. 

Rappers use it to familiarize themselves with their group of friends. Others use it as a degrading, racial slur. Athletes use it as a means of trash talk. Some change the ending to make it seem less hateful.

The N-word, is not a good word. Most of us say it or have it before and it's a part of our culture that nobody wants to admit they've partaken. It's going to be extremely difficult to eliminate such negativity, especially in a testosterone-driven sport like football.

Even if the rule does become enacted, how often will it be enforced?

How will officials know when to enforce it?

How can they hear it?

How will they know who to throw the flag on? 

How much longer will games take due to more stoppages in play?

This sounds more like a PR/PC friendly move for the NFL and it makes sense. Given the way society is in this day and age with questions surrounding the Washington Redskins and the validity of their name as a franchise and what happened with Mr. Cooper in the offseason, the league is taking a stance in trying to mold those that watch and follow the game to become better people because the athletes they idolize are becoming better people through rules like this.

The players are placed on pedestals and expected to be viewed as role models when in all actuality they are like everyone else... their paychecks are just much larger in size. 

If the officials want to enforce this rule, assuming it is enacted and made official, they should go for it. However, they will have to enforce holding, pass interference, clipping, facemask and other unsportsmanlike conduct penalties as frequent as they would this infraction.

Undoubtedly, it would change the pace of the game. 

It would slow the game down.

Does it make the NFL look better? 

Sure... no questions asked.

But, many have to wonder where this came from. 

Some will point to the Riley Cooper situation and say it's a preventative act by getting rid of racism out of the game. Others may point to the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito situation in Miami as the starting point for such a rule as racial slurs like the N-word drove Martin to the point of leaving the Dolphins entirely. Or it could just be the NFL trying to rid themselves of the blatant disrespect that is otherwise known as "trash talk". 

It's a good idea, but how often and how effectively it can be enforced are the two pressing issues likely facing this rule. 


Comments (1)

  • Anonymous   Feb 24, 2014 @ 01:02AM
    great article, but this isn't about white players dropping the N-Bomb and while you're correct that it's highly degrading word in my opinion, having spent a lot of time around "the brother", it IS a term of endearment.
    Oh, and by the way, this stems from a Black Official referring to a black player as "My N---A" and the player getting offended by it. -

Jeff Kryglik
Sports Writer


Avg. Readership (monthly)


Followers (writers)


Last Active
90+ days ago





Other Features

Greg Gianforte: Exploding Prairie Dogs, Assault, & Early Voters

Pokemon Go Wants Your Data, But Not Your Personal Data

Is E3 A Joke?


Take a Tour   ·   Contact Us   ·   Privacy statement Konsume Media LLC 2016. All rights reserved.

Generated in 0.161 seconds in which 0.150 seconds were spent on a total of 49 queries. Zlib compression enabled.