The idea of referees penalizing a player or team 15 yards for the “N” word is stupid. And not for the reason you may think. Actually, there are several. But lets start with this one.
The rule is way to specific. It’s borderline offensive, in it’s own way, almost profiling or targeting certain individuals, or teams. People should be worried, including Dan Snyder and the Washington Redskins and while we are at it how about any other professional sports team with a potentially offensive or derogatory name. This new rule is catering to a certain population and singling out a specific word. Yes, Roger Goodell will now be able to say, “look, we are taking action against politically incorrect and derogatory and offensive actions and words”. “We are a more carrying and inclusive organization”. But because of its specificity, it opens the door for future action against even more specific terms, and names. There is a reason behind all this as to why the rule is so specific and what ever it may be, whether it is to pressure others to change their team names or just more “PR” to avoid more law suites, it is just plain dumb and stupid.
Want another reason?
Here’s a hint Roger, you already have this rule. You just have to expand upon it a little bit. It’s called unsportsmanlike conduct. The ruling should include any offensive or derogatory word. If any such word is said, a 15 yard penalty will be made against the offending players team as unsportsmanlike conduct.
Yes, I did say ANY. And yes that is way to subjective. But don’t worry, it will not be abused in anyway, honestly. After all, it’s not like referees see or catch every hold or illegal hit that is made in plain sight in every game. They are not going to catch or hear every curse or derogatory word spoken. Instead, they will pick an opportune time to make up for a blown call they made, or missed, earlier in the game – just to even everything out – just like they do now.
Expanding the unsportsmanlike conduct rule would be the best of both worlds. Roger would get the “PR” he desires by saying they expanded the ruling to “clean up” the game and protect people’s feelings while at the same time preserve the game, as much as possible, as it is currently played. This is how the ruling should be made and interpreted, but for some reason it will not be enacted as unsportsmanlike conduct. It will be enacted with a long term goal of catering to special interest groups and their lawyers. And that is a shame.