It’s no secret that talking trash is part of football, but a group that pushes to increase race-based hiring in the NFL has officially asked players on Thursday to stop using the N-word anywhere or for any purpose.
“As former players (along with thousands of others) who have worked hard in different eras of the game to leave proud legacies for those who follow us, we are appalled and extremely disappointed to learn that the worst and most derogatory word ever spoken in our country is being used during games as well as casually in the locker room,” the Fritz Pollard Alliance (FPA) announced in a statement.
America’s favorite forbidden word is back in the news thanks to the heavily publicized Richie Incognito bullying scandal, as well as an altercation in which Washington Redskins offensive tackle Trent Williams allegedly threw a “racial slur” at NFL official Roy Ellison.
The FPA is named for pioneering black head coach Fritz Pollard, who coached the American Professional Football Association’s Akron Pros and the NFL’s Hammond Pros during the 1920s. The group has also asked the NFL to eject and fine any players using the word on the field, reports ESPN.
The FPA pointed to earlier black players like Kenny Washington and Woody Strode as role models “who bravely withstood the indignity of the N-word during a time when black men were beaten and even hung simply because of the color of their skin.”
The statement closes with, “We are not asking players to point fingers or to report who said what when. We are simply asking that you respect the dignity of your teammates, fellow players, officials, coaches, fans, and yourselves. Most importantly, we ask that you respect every man who has worn the uniform but especially those men who helped make the National Football League what it is today and have made it possible for you to follow in their footsteps.”