The Sports Brothers
Why Blacks use the N word
3/6/2014, 9 a.m.
It has been quite an interesting past few weeks in sports as talk of banning the N word has made headlines. Primarily a movement led by John Wooten an African American ex NFL player and head of the NFL's Fritz Pollard Alliance has spearheaded a recent effort to have the NFL ban the word from its stadiums and the game period. The major debate now centers on whether the NFL should start penalizing teams 15 yards for a player’s use of the N-word on the field. It is a noble, ambitious plan and the NFL should be commended for it as well as Mr Wooten. Let us be on the record that we oppose the use of the N word in any way shape or form. It is disgusting. A vile, hurtful word that should never be used in any capacity. This topic has dominated sports in recent weeks. The Miami Heat's Chris Bosh has suggested that the NBA follow suit with the NFL's initiative to eradicate the word from it's playing fields. This will be a difficult task though it is not impossible and here is why.
The bottom line here while the NFL tries to clean up it's workplace, is a whole lot has changed over the last 75 years or so. The NFL right now is dominated by predominantly young, rich Black football players who, as we have seen time and time again, have no problem using the word. In fact they seem to like it. They tell us that they now own it. The N word may have a racist origin created by bigots, used to demean and belittle and humiliate but somewhere something changed. The convenient excuse it seems is to blame the hip hop culture but I say don't go there. Black people suddenly embraced the N word long before the birth of hip hop. Somewhere there was a disconnect and everything changed.
ESPN's Michael Wilbon a recent guest on our radio show says he is comfortable using it and traces that back to his childhood when his father constantly used it. We also spoke with John Wooten and we heard the pain in his voice when discussing this topic with him. Turn on radio stations all over this country, you will hear poorly edited versions of the N word on song after song. Go to any urban club, playground, park or professional team's locker rooms. It is not uncommon to hear one Black player greet another with the N word. At the end of the day after thinking of all of those who fought and died to resist being labeled as N words if you are still comfortable making that word a huge part of your vocabulary, that is on you. I cannot do it. Until Black people collectively in one loud, unified voice denounce the N word it will not go away.
The Sports Brothers, Jeff Fox & Ed Freeman, can be heard daily on WQAM 560 Sports Radio.