By Jaia A. Thomas
Who recollects the NAACP ostentatious N-word burial several years ago? Hundreds of protesters marched the streets of downtown Detroit to symbolically bury the N-word. Media outlets captured horses pulling a coffin adorned with black flowers and a derivation of the N-word. Several years after the NAACP called us to lay the N-word to rest, the NFL is calling professional football players to do the same.
Last year the Fritz Pollard Alliance issued a directive to the NFL requesting the N-word be banned from the football field. The mission of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, named after the first African-American coach in the NFL, is to promote diversity and equality among the NFL. Under the proposed rule, the NFL would issue an automatic 15-yard penalty if any player used the N-word on the field with a second infraction meriting an ejection from the game altogether. John Wooten, head of the Fritz Pollard Alliance stated during the NFL combine last week that he wanted the word to be “policed from the parking lot to the locker room.” He wants it eliminated completely and wants it policed everywhere.
The NFL has considered a lot of outlandish rules over the years, such as the hiring of tattoo experts to decode gang signs, but I think I may nominate the NFL’s regulation of the N-word for the superlative, “Most Outlandish of Them All.” While civil rights luminaries such as Rev. Al Sharpton extol the measure, the rule, replete with loopholes and inconsistencies, fails on the following merits: