If, as expected, the NFL's competition committee enacts a new 'diversity' rule next month, players will be penalized 15 yards for using the N-word, and perhaps a bevy of other racial and homophobic slurs.
And NFL owners, along with Commissioner Roger Goodell, will do so without acknowledging the unending self-parody such a rule will create. For every week of the season, as referees flag players for their insensitivity, the NFL will trot out 53 players from our nation's capital with uniforms adorned with a racial slur: Redskins.
The only difference between that slur and the ones which will be banned? One makes money, while the others do not.
Just listen to John Wooten, head of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which monitors diversity in the NFL, on whether or not his efforts to have the N-word banned will be instituted:
"I will be totally shocked if the competition committee does not uphold us on what we're trying to do ... We want this word to be policed from the parking lot to the equipment room to the locker room."Yes, he wants racial slurs to be policed in parking lots. In equipment rooms. In locker rooms. And he said this without a hint of satire or irony, without a hint of self-awareness.
On can just imagine this rule being read to Redskins players for the first time by coaches in their headdress-adorned locker room. Or even better, statements championing this rule from Redskins owner, Dan Snyder, on crisp, Washington Redskins stationary.
Perhaps these images inspired Wooten did say this:
"With any rule that we put into play we have to look at it from A to Z and find out any unintended consequences."I wonder what unintended consequence making the use of racial slurs illegal might bring? What intellectual conflicts might arise? What bouts of cognitive dissonance might resonate after each whistle?
Inquiring minds would like to know.
David Harris-Gershon is author of the memoir What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, just out from Oneworld Publications.
I want to emphasize that I champion real efforts to combat bigotry in all forms in the NFL (and beyond). What I don't champion is the NFL's racist hypocrisy, staring us all in the face.