Word has it that NFL players are divided on use of racial slur

Sherman
Sherman
Posted: March 05, 2014

THE NFL's proposal to ban the use of the N-word on the field has ignited a debate among players.

This week, the NFL Competition Committee is in Naples, Fla., to discuss implementing a 15-yard penalty on players who use the word during games.

Over the weekend, Peter King, of the website Monday Morning Quarterback, asked three active NFL players their thoughts.

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said he opposes the ban.

"It's an atrocious idea," he told King. "It's almost racist to me. It's weird they're targeting one specific word. Why wouldn't all curse words be banned then?

"It's in the locker room and on the field at all times. I hear it almost every series out there on the field."

Titans cornerback Jason McCourty agreed.

"It's a common word in so many players' everyday lives," McCourty said. "Among African-American players and people, it's used among friends all the time. It seems like a bit much for the NFL to try to get rid of it. It's a pretty common word in the locker room."

Of the players King talked with, only free-agent linebacker D'Qwell Jackson supported the ban - with reservations.

"Ultimately, if the NFL can get it done, it's great for our game," Jackson said. "But I think refs have a hard enough time officiating the game now. Now they'd be asked to police language?"

King also talked with Hall of Famer Harry Carson, who played his entire 13-year career with the Giants.

Carson hasn't played since 1988, but has strong feelings about the word being used on and off the field.

"I find it very disheartening that in our society today we're having a debate about the N-word being used as a term of endearment," Carson said. "If that's a term of endearment, go up to your grandfather, or an elderly black person, and use it on them. See how they react. For those who use it, I say they have no sense of history."

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