ESPN’s Michael Wilbon isn’t very happy that the NFL is trying to panelize players for using the N-word.
“I’ve got a real problem with this. … I’ve got a big problem with this,” Wilbon said, via the Washington Post. “So you’re gonna have a league with no black owners and a white commissioner — middle-aged and advanced-aged white men — say to black players, mostly — because that’s what we’re talking about — you can’t use the N-word on the field of play, or we’re gonna penalize you. I’ve got a massive problem with that. I don’t think it’s gonna happen. I know there are black men of the same age – John Wooten [of the Fritz Pollard Alliance] being one of them — who say no, you’ve got to take this word out of the workplace. I understand that. But I don’t want it enforced like this.”
Wilbin believes the word can be a term of endearment.
“It’s defaming in the context in which you saw it [in historical movies],” Wilbon said. “It is not defaming in the context in which I and many others use it every day. Not music and art; just language, just talk. I’m not a child of hip-hop; I use it every day with somebody else who uses it. And I understand people who don’t want to use it, I respect that. This is difficult, this is complicated. And the NFL, which won’t even stand up — Roger Goodell doesn’t have the guts to stand up and say Redskin is an offensive name. So he wants to take [the N-word] out of play, but he won’t take Redskin out of play? How gutless is that? What kind of signal are you sending? You act like Redskin is a term of endearment, which has been his position so far.”
I agree with Wilbon that the NFL needs to do something about the Redskins name, but he N-word is not a nice word, I don’t care how you want to justify it.