Tag Archives: NFL

A Couple Things…

Big news in sports this week.  Evidently, the NFL is going to start flagging players for using racial slurs on the field, to the tune of a 15 yard penalty, as part of the rules against abusive language.  This seems to have come as a result of publicity about bullying in the Miama Dolphins’ locker room.  Here’s the thing, or things:

Language is Ever Changing

A while back, I had a post in which I argued that calling an oppressive system a “Patriarchy,” when it’s not one in any discernible way, creates an anti-male bias in one’s head, because it connect the idea of maleness (“Pater” is “Father” in Latin) with a nameless, faceless, oppressive enemy, who is the source of all one’s problems.  This happens much in the same way the word “gay” being used to describe unpleasant things creates an anti-gay bias, and calling women as a whole “bitches” makes one subconsciously mistreat women.

That said, “gay” once meant only “happy.”  “Bitch” only referred to female dogs, and calling a human one would be so contextually inconsistent as to be tantamount to gibberish.  “Patriarchy” was once used to describe genuinely patriarchal governmental systems, as opposed to being a catch-term to distract people from being oppressed by an Oligarchy.

The same goes for racial slurs.  Everyone knows the tired trope of “if black people can call each other ‘nigger’, why can’t everyone else use the word?”  Right?  It gets used all the time, and the response is often that black people use it to take the power from the word, and thereby make it less dehumanizing overall, giving the word less oppressive power over them.  And, to be honest, that actually makes some form of sense to me.  My first choice would be that anyone use whatever words they want, and my second choice would be that no one use “nigger” except to reference the term itself (more on that later), but as third choices go, I’m fine with the “black people can say it and white people can’t” argument.

But the fact is that the usage of that one word has changed dramatically over the last few decades, and will continue to do so.  Eventually, it will carry none of the weight it did in the antebellum south, or during the 1960’s, or even today.  Words change, and outlawing them will not change that.  Frankly, if people can’t say one thing, they’ll find a way to say it without saying it anyway.  Because…

Context is Everything

I don’t use racial slurs.  I find them coarse and ignorant and I just have no use for them.  Well, almost.  You see, Louis CK has a point when he says that saying “N-Word” is the same as saying “Nigger.”

In both cases, the listener knows what word or idea you’re referring to, so they are effectively the same.  They’re synonyms.

There’s really no difference between saying “Bob called Joe a nigger,” and “Bob called Joe the N-word.”  If you’re offended by the usage in that context, you’re over-sensitive and you need a better understanding of how language works.

That said, it is always wise to avoid calling anyone by derogatory terms (unless involved in some kind of S&M degradation role-play, in which case, you should know where your lines are).  But it should apply across the board.

What I’m getting at is that the context of when you use a word has a lot to do with whether or not it’s offensive.  And more importantly, the things you say have meaning not because of the arrangement of consonant and vowel sounds, but because of the meaning heaped on them in the context of when the words are being said.

I mean, come on.  It wasn’t called “sex in the daytime,” but who doesn’t know what “Afternoon Delight” was about?  But the most important thing is this…

The NFL Has ABSOLUTELY ZERO Room to Even Talk About Racism

Until they force Daniel Snyder to change the name of the fucking Washington Redskins, I don’t want to hear anyone in the NFL front office say a God damned thing about players using racial slurs.  Fuck you people.  Take the beam out of your own eyes, douchebags, before giving anyone shit about the speck in their own.  The hypocrisy here is pungent enough that the normal bullshit about supposedly supporting “player safety” is white lilac and fresh linen by comparison.

Sometimes, I just don’t fucking understand people…

Rush Limbaugh and The NFL: Enemies Cut From the Same Cloth

So Rush Limbaugh didn’t get to join a private club and now all the conversation on the airwaves is all about him.  Would that I could get so much publicity for being denied entry into an exclusive rich guy organization.  I’d be getting more viewers than the Superbowl!  What has been largely ignored in the debate over whether Limbaugh should be able to own an NFL franchise, though, is that both Limbaugh and the NFL are equally guilty of overt racism.

The question seems to be based around the question of whether Limbaugh, as the leader of the right-wing radio world, is a racist.  It’s the simplest question I think I have ever heard.  No one who spouts as much race-based vitriol as Rush could be anything other than racist.  Aside from the obvious racial prejudice of the Donovan McNabb statements that got him fired from ESPN, Limbaugh has resorted to the same old racist tricks to try and make white folks afraid of “them negras.”

It’s amazing how people listen to the guy every day and just refuse to see how racist Rush really is.  Really.  What else could he be driving at when he said on September 15 of this year “[I]n Obama’s America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering.” Is there another possible interpretation?  When, on April 14, Limbaugh implied that President Obama would allow young black muslims to murder freely, isn’t it really just a slightly less overt way of saying “them darkies always stick together?”

The most obviously racist statements made by Limbaugh, though, have nothing to do with black people.  They have to do with the indigenous population of North America.  On August 18 of this year, Limbaugh repeatedly used the term “injun” in reference to indigenous peoples.  As much as Rush has maligned African-Americans, Latin-Americans, and certainly LGBT Americans, I am not aware of any instance when he has referred to any of these groups with malicious pejoratives on national radio or television.  The term “injun” is an ethnic slur of the same caliber as “nigger” or “chink.”  Anyone using the term as a reference to Indigenous Americans (especially in the mocking tone in which Limbaugh uttered the phrase), is absolutely spouting racism.  Rush may make the case, as he did on October 12, that he is “colorblind” and therefore not a racist, but his record speaks for itself.

The same is true of the National Football League.  While the NFL is certainly populated by large numbers of numerous ethnic minorities, the ownership is remarkably monochrome.  Sure, Reggie Fowler, the owner of the Vikings, is an example of progress in that realm.  He is the exception, though, and not the rule.  The NFL has for years promoted itself as a racially unbiased organization, where players’ races are generally never introduced into the conversation.  It’s obvious that the league has a disproportionately high number of racial minorities, but nowhere do you hear anyone in the league talk about theories as to why that is, or even the fact that it is the case.  This, in and of itself, is excellent.  Unfortunately, the NFL runs into some serious problems with at least one racial group.  This would be the same group to whom Limbaugh is completely unafraid to use racial slurs on national radio.  Every time I see the Washington Redskins play a game, I root for the other team and want to throw my beer through the TV.

It is ironic that the first (and only) black quarterback to win a Superbowl, Doug Williams, played for the Redskins.  It is insulting that the team is in Washington, D.C., from which the single most complete genocide in human history was directed.  This would be somewhat akin to Pulaski, TN (birthplace of the KKK) having a team called the “Jungle Bunnies,” or Berlin fielding a new soccer team called the “Flying Kikes.”  Were that to happen, protestors would bomb those cities out of existence, and the American people would (rightly) support it.  The very existence of the Washington Redskins is an affront to humanity and an assault on an entire race of people.

But back to Rush and the NFL.  The facts are quite simple.  The National Football League is a private organization and has the legal right to exclude any one they want for any reason they want.  They are not required to give a reason as to why they accept or deny an application to join their club.  In this case, they shouldn’t have.  The NFL has no moral authority to deny Limbaugh because he’s a racist, any more than I get to talk trash about Jason Alexander for being bald and overweight.  It is clear that Rush Limbaugh and the National Football Leaguge are at odds with one another over the league’s rejection of Limbaugh, but they are exactly the same kind of people.  Neither has a problem referring to Indigenous Americans with racial epithets on a national stage.  Both are racist as hell.  They are enemies cut from the same cloth.