Two Lions say racial slurs show their friendship


When Eagles receiver Riley Cooper was caught on tape using the N-word, it resulted in Cooper being sent away amid a controversy that embroiled the team. But two players on the Lions say they openly use racial slurs toward each other as a sign of affection.

Tony Scheffler, a white tight end, and Louis Delmas, a black safety, have been close friends since they were teammates at Western Michigan, and Terry Foster of the Detroit News writes that they frequently greet each other by Delmas saying, “Hey, cracker,” and Scheffler replying, “How’s my n—–?”

That context is quite a bit different than the context in which Cooper used a racial slur: Cooper was using the N-word to describe people he said he wanted to beat up. But aren’t slurs unacceptable in any context?

Delmas says Cooper deserved the scorn he got, but that Scheffler should not be criticized for using the same word under different circumstances.

“Me and [Scheffler] have a relationship many people do not have — both black and white,” Delmas said. “I look at him like my brother. I love him to death. He greets me, ‘What up, n—–?’ But I understand it. So I say, ‘What’s up, cracker?’ But we would never take it outside the building.”

Similarly, Scheffler said Delmas calls him racially charged names as a sign of affection.

“I treat Louis like a little brother,” Scheffler said. “He knows my wife and kids. He calls me ‘white boy’ and ‘cracker.’ We go back and forth with it and we are both comfortable with each other. I can’t say the same with other relationships in the locker room or how other guys would feel about it. So it is a tough dynamic when you are using those types of words. Everybody does not react the same.”

And everybody will not react the same to Scheffler and Delmas. Some will say it’s great that their friendship is close enough that they can use such words without causing offense. Others will say that everyone, even those who mean no harm, should put racial slurs out of their vocabularies.

90 responses to “Two Lions say racial slurs show their friendship

  1. Context is everything. You might playfully call your sister “fat” or “dumb”, so does that mean I am allowed to insult her by calling her fat or dumb too? I mean you call her “fat” and “dumb” in your rap songs, so why can’t I?

    This is the best way I can describe the confusion from white people in the “why can’t I say the n-word THEY do?” argument. Context is EVERYTHING.

  2. Saying its OK in context is just accepting a double standard, which I thought was something that was unacceptable to most civilized individuals. Maybe I’m wrong and just weird to not accept double standards. Why can’t wrong be wrong, no matter the context?

  3. this is just a way of taking the power out of the word. I don’t like the use of ***ga or ***ger, and I wouldn’t do it. But there’s no problem with this use. Riley cooper on the other hand is inexcusable.

  4. THANK YOU! The problem was not the “N word” Cooper used. It’s the context.

    I’m a 28yr old black male. It was so frustrating to read all the post by white males saying ” Why is Cooper getting flack for something he hears all the time in the locker room”. I’m sure Cooper isn’t a racist but if you say you want to beat up “any n***** back there” to one of the few black guys there AND you get caught on camera you deserve the flack you get. And no he did not deserve to lose his job over something stupid he said while drunk.

  5. I can see how an outsider could view this is racial. But it doesnt matter what anyone else thinks. There is a mutual understanding and respect that they have for each other. They arent insulting the other person either.

    I wouldnt use these terms bc they are both racist terms but again the context is important here.

  6. I think this is great! We need to stop letting the media stir up this race war as of recent with things like zimmerman and cooper. People are taking things way out of hand. I feel examples like this friendship are what can be shined upon instead of so many pe ople blowing a stupid word out of context. Half the white men of this country fought for black freedom. Century later usa has a black president. Lets stop reversing progress people.

  7. Racial Slurs have been around for hundreds of years and they will continue until long after all of us are gone. Black people use them just as much as white people do.

  8. The second group of people in your example need to realize that censorship does not govern thoughts. Simply banning a word is a useless act of a small mind.

  9. I’ve said it since day 1. It’s about the context in which you use the word. People are quick to stop at the usage of it.

    Again there was a woman in the background who said the same word and no body went after her.

    Cooper threatened violence against the black people there. It clearly wasn’t used as a term of affection.

  10. You can never stop people from saying what they want to say…it is just not possible. So please stop acting like society can get everyone to stop saying a particular word…it’s an idiotic concept at best.

  11. truninerfan49 says:
    Aug 8, 2013 10:45 AM
    Racial Slurs have been around for hundreds of years and they will continue until long after all of us are gone. Black people use them just as much as white people do.

    Congratulations! But, who is stupid enough to say it in public and get caught?

    We can’t control what happens behind closed doors. I’m sure we all say stupid stuff. But, when you say it in public. That’s the problem.

  12. It cracks me up that someone else can get offended for something that the two folks involved have no issues, what-so-ever with. Folks need to learn to mind their own business, worry more about themselves and less about others that have nothing to do with them.

  13. Hey, guess what? Racism is alive and well in our society. Apparently this is breaking news to some people…I’m not happy that it still exists but it’s a reality either way. Using common sense would have been the best thing Cooper could have done and would have prevented this whole situation but our society seems to be lacking in that arena. His private feelings are just that and should have been kept that way. He made the mistake of vocalizing it and it was recorded for history sake. Maybe the good ol’ boy club of whites and the special interest groups for the blacks should dial it down first and maybe we could start to make some headway on this problem…it was an awful thing for Cooper to say and I am by no means defending it but people, we have bigger issues than this….

  14. So the “N word” is so horrible, solar systems themselves crumble when its spoken, but here its ok.

    And in Jay-Z’s new hit single its ok.

    And when Jon Stewart has said it on his show in the past its ok.

    Hmmm…so maybe there’s no need for anyone to go completely bonkers when they hear that word? Maybe the issue is with those who get offended and make a big deal about it instead?

  15. I 100% agree with Delmas and Sheffler. I served four years in the Marine Corps, and the guys in my platoon were of mixed races, and we were so close we were like brothers. We would die for one another. And it was because of this brotherhood that we all felt that allowed us to actually see through race because we realized that race doesn’t matter. And ya know what? We called each other “racial slurs” all the time. It was actually an expression of love. It was our way of saying to each other “the reason I can call you this is because of our love for one another.”

  16. hmm . . . lots not forget that context can change the meaning of a word or a phrase . . . as so can time . . . i have heard friends use the n-word plenty of times, but not once to do with the color of someones skin . . . i heard them call white people, black people, asian’s, poeple of middle eastern decent, etc. the n-word . . . why?? . . . because to them a person they describe as the n-word is a simple a horrible person . . . write or wrong, people use the word in many different ways now . . .

    how about this, if you want to get rid of racism, quit asking the skin color on job applications or insurance forms . . . quite forcing people to hire minority’s (or in the case of the nfl, make a mockery of the rooney rule by interviewing minority candidates JUST TO SATISFY THE RULE) . . . those rules, in themselves, are racism. In order to get rid of racism, ALL of that stuff CANNOT exist!!

  17. NONE of us are perfect. None of us is innocent of ever thinking or saying anything derogatory of others.

    Cooper has apologized for his behavior. His teammates and team (co-workers and employer) have accepted it.
    Its time to move on and end your hatred.

  18. Justifying racial slurs because of context keeps the words alive. If. everyone made a conscious effort to not use them, they might end up disappearing. The real problem is that there is so much money being made off of the race issue that it likely will never go away.

  19. Context is important but it’s the perceived intent that gets some people riled up. (pun not intended) Words are not offensive. None of them. All words are simply a combination of symbols used to convey a message. It is the perceived message that is what is offensive. Some people are not able to differentiate meanings through context so they show contempt and fear of the word itself rather than the message it is intended to convey. If you get offended by a word the problem is yours, not the word’s. There are a ton of people out there that look for something to be offended about or some cause to champion. Those people are the true problem.

  20. Clearly there are different contexts in which “the word” is used, some considered acceptable by black people, others not. Nevertheless, the common use of the word by anyone – black, white, friend, rapper, whatever – lends a certain legitimacy to the word and contributes to its continued use in any context. If black people want to eliminate the word from our language a good first step would be to not use it themselves in any context and (obviously) for white people to do the same.

  21. Woooooo! These guys rule. All you sensitive folk need to realize YOU ARE THE PROBLEM! Not them.

  22. that was a heart warming story not often you see friendships last, and that close when players go to the NFL. i agree it’s all about context but if they keep doing it people will get the wrong idea

  23. I’ve had white friends (who I’ve been friends for years) call me the n word (with ah ending) ; However, the context wasn’t demeaning with a racial tone ala Riley Cooper(who’s a racist).

  24. A very good example of how context affects the discussion yet “certain” people will still act like they are confused about how the use of the word can be ok in some situations and completely in-appropriate in others. I’m sure some of those “certain” people are just not capable of mentally grasping the concept and can accept that. There is a word for the other’s in that “certain” group but we’re not supposed to believe that still exists…

  25. I get what they are TRYING to do, but this…should not happen. When I was younger I used to think that by changing it from a 6 letter word to a 5 letter word that I somehow changed the word. The older I got th emore I realized that it doesn’t change it.

    These two should stop it. It doesn’t matter if you use it toward a friend and not in a hostile tone it is still wrong for ANYBODY to use it, Black or White. Never acceptable.

  26. This story is a perfect example of why any term used as a racial slur should never be used in any context by anyone – regardless of which side of the word they are on.

    “Context ” is used as a convenient excuse for those seek to benefit from a double standard.

  27. I worked in a factory for a while where the employees regularly related to each other like that. Of course, we also worked with toxic chemicals so that might have had something to do with it too.

  28. If a white man using that word gets his money taken and is outcast from the team while being treated like he has mental issues then you cannot justify letting any race use it in the locker room under any context.

    I brought up the Amukamura situation in earlier posts. He admitted feeling ganged up on and attacked and they repeatedly used the slur in a quite aggressive manner. INSIDE an NFL locker room! Nothing happened to those players. Cooper uses it and has punishments FAR beyond those players.

    No one is arguing for the right for white men and women to use this word. I have not read that post in any of these…I know I personally haven’t even condemned african americans for use of the word in social settings…it’s the out come that is a double standard in an american workforce that isn’t right.

    That IS NOT defending Coopers use of the word or demanding the right to use said word.

    Argue context until you’re blue in the face but at least try to get the context of everyone elses point as well. Use it in any setting you want but you can’t have an african americans can use that word here but whites can’t rule. That’s taking a massive step back.

  29. In this article, why is the white racial slur completely spelled out while the black racial slur isn’t? Aren’t they the same thing?

  30. As you can see my screen name is HonkeyT. I was a little white kid growing up in poor neighborhoods with mostly african americans. Every since I was 4 years old I was a Honkey or a little Honkey and after I got older I wear it as a badge of honor. Although I never called any of my african american friends the N-Word they called me Honkey and when I got in my teens I told the them to call me HonkeyT because my first name starts with a T. To me Honkey just sounds funny even though it is used in the same tone as the N-word, it’s just the N-word has plauged our society for the last 200+ years so I can see why it would be seen as more offensive, but when both words used in a racist manner they are just as ugly as each other.

  31. If it’s ALL about context, then why do MDS and Terry Foster both feel the need to edit one racial slur and not the other? Hell, MDS even chose one of them to be a link to the article. It’s got much more to do with a double standard than it does context. Some people think the double-standard is okay purely based on history, and while that may be a valid argument, it begs the question on why the NAACP and other organizations have held events that advocate, “Burrying the N-word” over the past few years. The African American community’s mixed message on this topic is why this debate has been allowed to even exist. Dropping N-bombs is either okay, or it isn’t. Please pick one of these options, if only to get this stupid debate over with.

  32. And, by the way, if Scheffler’s use of the word in context makes it acceptable, then why not spell it out in the article when used in that context?

  33. Context IS important for a lot of communication no doubt.

    But.. let’s just quit this stupid justification of all black people being able to use the word all the time, in EVERY context and then act like it’s an atrocity every time a white person uses it.. regardless of context.

    We want to act like it’ sooooo gray and difficult to discern. It’s not. It’s really, really easy..

    If black people don’t like hearing it said.. then stop considering it OK for athletes, rappers, and comedians to say it ad nauseum.

    Double Standards lead to confusion.. which is why this subject is so touch.

    Cooper was a drunk idiot, but if a drunk black player had said “I’ll fight any cracker here”.. it would have been crickets…..

    Or… he would have said “No.. sorry you misunderstood.. that’s not racist term.. it means “Security Guard”. And when we would give him a scholarship to school and a medal..

  34. Sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you unless you are the fool speaking them. Can we get back to football?

  35. I agree with those saying that context is everything. In the case of Scheffler and Delmas, their friendship turns racist humor into racial humor. The word difference is subtle but end result is everything and now falls into the category of insults between friends. If they’re both OK with it, so am I.

  36. “enough is enough w/ social commentary posts. we’re here to read–and discuss–the sport of american football.”

    Dude! Don’t we wish, jessepinkman1199! But – this is from NBC. Liberal politics is the message, football is now the vehicle to drive ’em there.

  37. westampa says:
    Aug 8, 2013 10:59 AM
    I wonder what the mayor of Detroit has to say about this.
    We’re bankrupt, don’t care…

  38. Just the fact that the white slur was printed in full and the black slur was not shows a large and ambiguous double standard when it comes to this topic. If we want slurs eliminated than no one should use them in any context against any group. If that’s too much to ask then everyone needs to take a deep breath and understand they are just words. In this world of wife beaters, drunk drivers and murderers “words” are pretty far down the list.

  39. if you’re going to edit ni— please do the same for cr—–. Neither should he acceptable. Allowing racial slurs about one race and not others is the epitome of racism.

  40. @ granadafan says:Aug 8, 2013 11:38 AM

    Scrubs fans think Scheffler should call Delmas his “chocolate bear”.


    Now that is funny. JD & Turk were best friends (actually, the two are in real life, too) and in the first episode JD (played by the White Zach Braff) asked Turk (played by the Black Donald Faison) if he could use the word when singing rap songs and Turk told him no.

    I used to use the word toward my friends who were also Black and toward my cool White friends in high school, in the Navy, but as I got older I wised up.

  41. It’s about opportunism as much as it’s about context.
    If the Rhyming Reverends and Mayor Nutter decide they want a story like this to stick around, they’ll simply keep beating the drums.
    The CBC will have their say on the issue.
    A couple days later the NAACP will have their say.
    Then we’ll hear from Cooper’s African-American team mates @ U. of Florida, just to make certain everyone knows he’s been a racist for years.
    And so it goes…
    And the pathetic media will certainly go along for the ride.

  42. I may be on the wrong side of the argument, but I think context is a bs copout.

    For example, If Cooper had said “….everyone of those Ninjas”, the context is the exact same, everyone would know exactly what he meant. However, he wouldnt have said anything wrong at all.

    Can you honestly tell me that we should start firing people, suspending kids in school, etc, for using the word Ninja in a racially meant context?

    The issue, whether you like it or not, is that right now society is divided on whether or not -er and -ga are ok to say if you are black vs if you are white. And like it or not, thats a racist point of view to say someone can do something if they are black, but not if they are white.

    Racism is never going to go away until everyone stops using those words, and everyone treats every type of race indifferently from each other.

    I feel unclean on this soap box…. :/

  43. Anyone who uses a racial slur under any context is a hypocrite if they get upset when someone uses it in a derogatory context. You want to get rid of the word? Don’t use it.

  44. If context matters, then the Redskins name should be fine because the football team isn’t racist against Native Americans.

    If we’re going to use the standard of “if something offends anybody” as reason to do away with it, let’s be consistent in our application.

    If certain people can’t say a word, no one should say it. Equality, right?

  45. During my time in the service we teased and joked about race and religion and pretty much anything else we could. Black, white, asian and more all joking with eachother. Most guys would laugh hardest at the ones that targeted their own race. But I would NEVER repeat those jokes to anyone I was not 100% comfortable around. Thank god no one recorded us though

  46. They are engaged is a dangerous and unnecessary game. Context is subjective and prone to interpretation; this is a high risk behavior with no or little reward.

  47. dasboat says:
    Aug 8, 2013 10:43 AM
    Things would be much simpler if NO ONE used that word.
    It would actually be just as simple if EVERYONE used that word.

  48. I’m white and my friend/co-worker (very dark skinned African American & equal military rank) wound up going to a race relations class together – not as punishment – something everyone was required to attend at that time (early 70’s). We came away from that class calling each other – I was his “Lazy n-(they might censor) and he was my “Stupid Honky”. That was our way to ridicule racists and most of the guys in our armament section cracked up over our act and I think it broke tensions and everyone got along well in that group. We were shown how our ridicule could be misinterpreted however when the battalion commander arrived unannounced and overheard one of our mock arguments. Thank goodness everyone in the section – mixed race – came to our defense. The colonel handed our heads back to us with the stern warning that he would keep them if he ever heard us again. Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton probably would have gone nuts over it so it was a good thing we stopped – but for our small closed group it lightened things up.

  49. The fact that this is even news shows how stupid and overblown the Riley Cooper situation is.

    You’d think he yelled “fire” in a crowded theater or something.

  50. It’s the context. I am not bothered by the use of it because its a word. I do get bothered when people feel that blacks are the only people that can be a “N”; thats when it becomes a racial thing. People need to acknowledge the whole definition of the word, and its entirety. Some don’t look at the second half of the explanation.
    a person of any race or origin regarded as contemptible, inferior, ignorant, etc
    victim of prejudice similar to that suffered by blacks; a person who is economically, politically, or socially disenfranchised. So to me anyone can be a “N”. Just like they can be a “B”. Women call each other that all the time but get so offended when a man does it. I don’t know. I’m just saying it wouldn’t matter what you called me at the time, if you meant disrespect I’m going to address it if need be. My anger or hate doesn’t increase due to the word you use.

  51. ok, so when it comes to the redskins team name, you say that context doesn’t matter, that if the word is offensive by itself then that’s that.

    but here we have another racial term, and we HAVE to consider the context? color me confused.

  52. Well if this article could be used to trade both of them, then I could live with that. Both of these players are overrated by the staff and have been holding us back relative to what their coaches believe about them and their worth to the team.

  53. let’s say you’re walking down the street, and behind you hear someone drop the n-bomb.
    a. are immediately offended
    b. are not bothered at all
    c. turn around to see the skin color of the person who said the word, and base YOUR feelings on THEIR color.

    if you said “c”, you might want to think about your own prejudices for a little while.

  54. I understand the article and their POV. However, do they say it in private or where other people can hear? Would other black people be offended if they overheard the “N” word come out of a white guy’s mouth? And vice versa for the black player?

  55. Now what if Scheffler and Delmas SWITCHED
    their terms of affection for each other?

    I had two friends who did exactly that. Everyone
    around us “got it”.

    I think the world might melt down…

  56. Since this whole thing broke off, I have noticed quite a few military folks’ comments. It is extremely tough for military people to hold on to the same closed-minded bitterness than it is for civilians. In the military we work closer with all races in all 3 roles – equals, subordinate, superior, and the races are mixed in all 3. So many instances where your best friend was another race and it never mattered – many are friends still today years later. By having the 3 roles mixed with all races you realize that you have more in common than differences.

    The problem with the civilian world is that you see less of a mix at all three levels, and add to it civilians segregate themselves already and you have more racial tension. We have to get to know each other as we did in the military. Realize the differences were small compared to the many similarities. We need to stop looking at the unknown as wrong rather than just different. It worked in the military with Blacks, Whites, Asians, Latins from all over, why is it so much trouble in the real world?

  57. Honest Abe had it right when he advocated for the Liberian solution. Would have solved this problem long ago.

  58. The “N” word is attached to a very dark and shameful period in white history. In the Colonial America of 1619, John Rolfe used negars in describing the African slaves shipped to the Virginia colony. By the 19th century it became a derogatory word to insult all black people, who we “enlightened” white people thought were a lesser class. Now, the younger generation uses it amongst themselves for all kinds of reasons, which diminishes it’s power….to a specific generation. The generations (and region of the U.S.) that use that word to insult and demean is still very much alive and well, so it’s difficult for me, at 49, to be o.k. with it’s use at any time. I am a child of the 60’s in California, when that word was still considered vile. Therefore I still consider the word vile and cringe when it’s used casually. Some day, it may no longer be considered an insult, but until that day, I just don’t think anybody should use it.

  59. While in the Navy, there was an incident where a multi ethnic pair were acting the same. A Black sailor walked by and overheard the banter. He then pulled out a knife and stabbed the “white boy” in Charleston, S.C.

  60. Wouldn’t the USA be so much better off if black people had never been enslaved and then made citizens? We would be living in a paradise.

  61. Riddle me this… Why is it okay for PFT to post “Cracker” completely uncensored, but “N—-r” has to be censored? Both are racial slurs, both are derogatory, but only one is censored.

  62. It is totally about the context. Redskin is not inflammatory in the context it is used. You cant have it both ways. So all of you agreeing it was context at the crux of the issue should have no problem with Redskin in the context that the team has used.

  63. Ive had friends of all colors that were able to joke like that. Ive also known dudes who thought it was ok to crack on whiteboy but not secure enough to take what they dish out. It is all about context but you also have to think about the context of intent. He used it in an aggressive manner but that doesn’t automatically mean it was in a racist manner. When you are trying to provoke a reaction you use words likely to get just that. ER is one of those words. Some people are acting like he was caught at a klan meeting, others are excusing him because black dudes say it. Your both being silly.

    Oh and a black guy saying it in a derogatory way “I’m a kill dat ******!” is no different than a white guy saying it. Whether they use A or ER makes no difference at all.

  64. i don’t care about the context…if the wrong african heard you say it, you might as well plan on being charged with a hate crime…

  65. The mere fact you can print and say the “C” word but not the “N” word explicitly reveals the inherent double standard. Disparaging racial remarks should NEVER be written or spoken, regardless of ethnicity.




    lets end this politicians wet dream of dividing people so they can stay in $$powe$$R




    me and my buddies talk to each other in a way that others would have a problem with


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!