Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin is strongly opposed to the proposal to penalize players for using the N-word on the field, saying he has never heard the word used as a racial slur and only heard it used from one black player to another.
“I think it’s absurd,” Baldwin said, via 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. So, for the rule to specifically to hone in on one word, it’s kind of odd to me when there’s so many other things that are more offensive that have been said on the football field. That word, like you’ve heard many guys say, they’ve never heard it towards them in a disrespectful way [on the field]. 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.”
The Fritz Pollard Alliance, which has worked with the NFL on issues related to increasing the number of black coaches and generally promoting diversity, is urging the NFL to make it a 15-yard penalty for any player to use the N-word during a game, regardless of the player’s intent or the color of the player’s skin. Baldwin thinks that’s a bad idea.
“If you want to ban offensive language, let’s ban all offensive language,” Baldwin said. “Not one particular word that is only used by one particular group.”
The NFL already has a rule banning the use of abusive or insulting language, and so a new rule may not need to be passed. And in Baldwin’s opinion, when the N-word is used in the NFL, it’s neither abusive nor insulting.