The NFL is currently contemplating a 15-yard penalty against players who use the N-word while on the field, and neither Doug Baldwin nor Richard Sherman think it’s such a good idea.
“I think it’s absurd,” Baldwin said per The News Tribune. “I understand Roger Goodell and his safety council, or whoever they are, they’re trying to do this with good intentions. … Maybe. But, if you look at it, the only people who say the N-word on the football field are African-Americans. Whether whoever wants to agree with it or not, we have turned it kind of into a term of endearment.”
Sherman agrees with Baldwin’s point of view.
“It’s in the locker room and on the field at all times,” he said on Monday Morning Quarterback. “I hear it almost every series out there on the field.
“It’s an atrocious idea [to penalize players for using the word]. It’s almost racist, to me. It’s weird they’re targeting one specific word. Why wouldn’t all curse words be banned then?”
On MMQB, Sherman emphasized that when the N-word ends in “-er” it is racist, but when the N-word ends in “-a” is not, when used among African-American players.
CBSSports.com reported that one source has said the “biggest problem” with the proposed rule change is what happens if officials flag a white player for using the word? And what if he wasn’t even the one that said the word?
It could be deemed very racist for a full television audience and “that player would then carry that with him the rest of his career.”
That could certainly cause problems. But Baldwin is more concerned that players will be penalized for using the word when they mean no harm in saying it.
“That word, like you’ve heard many guys say, they’ve never heard it towards them in a disrespectful way [on the field],” he explained. “It’s more of a term of endearment. Never heard it from the opposite race, so the only people they are really going at are African-Americans.”
League owners will vote on whether or not to implement the penalty later this month.