It is easy for me to understand the authenticity of the idea when the NFL is reflected as a job. For example, I go to work every day, and I personally would feel incredibly uncomfortable if my coworkers used language deemed racial slurs. Truth be told, I’d end up blowing a gasket at such insensitive consideration in a workforce that I have to come to everyday and work my tail off just to feed my family. Granted, I’d speak to the offenders, sure, but I would inform management, supervisors, or whoever of the incident just so that I may have it documented that I have a problem with such language on the job. I do not identify as an “N-word”, and take great offense to someone identifying me as such, regardless of the color of his or her skin. This is not a history lesson, and it should go without saying that people have literally died over that word. That word, and the destructive idea behind that word, have directly influenced years of oppression, hatred, murder and rape. So, I certainly welcome the idea that the “N-word” be penalized. I would not want to work anywhere where on any given Sunday that word is proliferated while I am trying to focus on getting my tasks done and I am not even a millionaire! If I made millions of dollars at my job, and the entire world was literally watching my every move, I would be meticulously detailed about everything I do at work and what comes out of my mouth. If anything, I would curb behaviors that could potentially be offensive if only for common courtesy and out of respect for the unequivocal influence I have. Employees are the representatives of their place of employment. Therefore, employers expect employees to conduct themselves as constant professionals while at work, and rightfully so. This undoubtedly includes monitoring all actions, reactions and words. Is this really too much to ask, especially at the price of making more money than 99% of the world?
The real issue is that it’s unfortunate such a ban or ruling could be injected into the game. In a perfect world, the proliferation of the “N-word” would not be, nor would things have happened to create such a defeating term of expression. As things happen, the world is not exactly “perfect”, whatever that means. When Sherman mentioned how he hears that word on almost every series, my heart sunk. I couldn’t believe it, but then again, I could. It’s a cultural word, used by millions and its impact differs based on who is using it and why. It’s disheartening that a ban needs to be instated to try and limit that word, which brings me to my final point. On one hand, the NFL should ban the “N-word”, and on the other hand, it should ban every racial slur. The “N-word” is not the only one in existence, and I am sure players say the “C-word”, “W-word” and the (insert letter and hyphen) word. Why then is only the “N-word” facing expulsion if it is the case? God only knows, but I am certain the Miami Dolphins offensive linemen Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin debacle enumerated and expedited the proposed ban. Let’s face it, it was ugly, and somehow threatened to offend or even lose consumers of the NFL product. As far-fetched it may seem, it was a messy situation, which could have ended up costing millions to rectify, and could have created copycat scenarios which could potentially cost more millions to rectify as a never-ending carousal. It was bad publicity, and if enough cases were to come out, it would undoubtedly threaten the credibility of the sport, at least from a business prospective. This is why the “N-word” ban is not only proposed to be in effect on the field, but also criminalized throughout the entire NFL. This means the word would not be uttered in facilities, staff faculties, training camps, meeting rooms, film rooms and all of the above, without consequential reprimanding. Truthfully, I believe the NFL is on the right track by starting to take use of offensive, insensitive language more seriously. I am all for banning racial slurs of every kind, but how far can a business reasonably go to ensure their employees simply cease using them while at work?
I am open to suggestions …
In the meantime, I’m going to go dream about Buffalo Bills safety Jairus Byrd in midnight green. While I’m at it, not only am I dreaming of Byrd, I am dreaming of Byrd at an affordable price.