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NFL Proposes N-Word Penalty

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  Have you heard about this? The NFL wants to penalize the use of the N-word -- 15 yards -- when used by the players on the field during the game.  It'll be a 15-yard penalty for use of the N-word in a league populated by 75% African-Americans.  Seventy-five percent of the players are African-American.  Therefore, 75% statistically of the use of the word would be by black players.  Fifteen-yard penalty.  Now, there's a bunch of ways of looking at that.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Anyway, the N-word. The NFL wants to now police the speech that occurs by players on the field during games, and this is not so much because giant, on-field microphones are picking up all these words (other than Peyton Manning and "Omaha").  It's that they want to clean up the game.  They think that there is no excuse for the use of the N-word at any time, by anybody during a game or any time in our society or our culture. 

So they are thinking, at the next round of owner's meetings, of changing the rules to establish a penalty of 15 yards any time the word is uttered.  So you're watching a game and all of a sudden play is in progress, probably during or shortly after the play, a yellow flag goes flying. "What the hell was that?"  The first time it'll be, "Uh-oh, somebody used the N-word, and the ref has gotta go and explain the flag."

N-word, offense, number 65, 15 yards! 

So everybody's gonna know that number 65 used the N-word.  But what about...? (interruption) It's only the N-word.  It's only the N-word. (interruption)  Well, it's probably not going to be challengeable.  (interruption) Because there are slang iterations of it, is your point, right?  I mean, it's not just that cut-and-dried.  There are a whole bunch of slang pronunciations of that word by people in the know.  (interruption)

Well, but even if it is reviewable, we're not gonna hear the review.  I mean, there's only video replay.  There's no audio. But stop and think of this.  It's only 15 yards?  Using the N-word is only 15 yards?  I mean, yeah, it is the most number of yards you can be penalized outside of a half the distance to the goal line or a pass interference-type thing, but only 15 yards?  No loss of down?  No being tossed out of the game? 

It's recent that this became an issue.  Ryan Clark, a safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers, revealed in the Pittsburgh papers yesterday that Dan Rooney, the owner of the Steelers, went to the locker room, and spoke to Ike Taylor, cornerback No. 24.  They have a great relationship.  Rooney said (summarized), "You tell the guys, I don't want that word in the locker room. I don't want the word in the music you play.

"I don't want the word on the field in the game.  You tell the guys I don't want it.  We are better than that.  We're not gonna have it," and Ryan Clark said there is so much respect for Mr. Rooney, and all of the black players on the Steelers know that he's with 'em and he loves 'em. He supported Obama, he supports them, and the Steelers are like a family. There was such profound respect for Mr. Rooney that they all agreed to stop using the N-word. 

But then it started trickling back into usage in three days.  It didn't last, and there were all kinds of people reacting to this.  One of the reactions was, "Well, of course. He's the owner of the team; it's his work environment. He ought to be able to demand that word not be used as the owner, whether they respect him or not. 

He's the owner, it's his team, it's his business.  If he doesn't want the word used, that's it, bottom line."  But there is this profound respect.  Ryan Clark said (summarized), "We did. Everybody abided by it, and then it just came back, 'cause it's young guys. It's the culture. They just use it. It's like any other word to 'em. That's not gonna change." The NFL is holding fast. 

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  The actor who plays the anchor on the HBO show Newsroom -- the character's name is Will McAvoy -- Jeff Daniels just tweeted -- and he's serious: "Wait a minute.  They ban the N-word but they can still say, 'Redskins'?"  He's serious.  It's nutso out there. 

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  "National Football League to Adopt Penalty for Use of Racial Slur." The idea for this, by the way, comes from the Fritz Pollard Alliance.  Fritz Pollard was the first African-American coach in the NFL many, many, many moons ago. "John Wooten, head of the Fritz Pollard Alliance that monitors diversity in the NFL, said he expects the league's competition committee to enact a rule at the owner's meeting next month making it an automatic 15-yard penalty if a player uses the N-word on the field, with a second infraction meriting an ejection."

According to CBS Sports, "Wooten spoke about his desire to eradicate the word completely from NFL workplaces at the Fritz Pollard event during the" scouting combine last week and over the weekend at Indianapolis. "'I will be totally shocked if the competition committee does not uphold us on what we're trying to do,' Wooten said. 'We want this word to be policed from the parking lot to the equipment room to the locker room. Secretaries, PR people, whoever, we want it eliminated completely and want it policed everywhere.' ...

"Wooten is 'extremely hopeful' it will pass.  'I think they're going to do what needs to be done here,' he said. 'There is too much disrespect in the game.'" Let's go to the audio sound bites.  First up, ESPN's "Outside the Lines Special Report: The N-word."  That was the title of the program.  I kid you not, folks.  You know, I'm not kidding.  It's just... I don't know.  That's what they're calling it. It's just inanity, no matter where you look.

You just can't find any intelligence anywhere you look, anywhere in the media anymore.  Anyway, "ESPN's Outside the Lines Special Report: The N-word."  Bob Ley was the host.  He's a good guy, too, by the way.  Bob Ley... I can't say too much.  He's undercover.  I can't say too much, but Bob Ley's a good guy, and he spoke with ESPN.com columnist Jason Whitlock about the N-word in the NFL, and Bob Ley said, "What is the statement, Jason?  What is the league trying to say here?"

WHITLOCK:  The people that love the N-word, and love to use it, are part of a culture that is still hostile towards black people, still anti-education, and still very violent towards black people -- and I'm talking about the black people that are in love with this word.  If you examine the culture that the N-word represents, it represents a culture that is anti-black.  This symbol is more powerful than the Confederate flag or any other symbol we have from racism.  It's the most powerful; it's the longest standing; and it still stands today; and it's embraced by the very people who it was intended to destroy.  And that's what's sad, and I'm glad the NFL is taking this stand.

RUSH:  Now, let me translate that for you, because you might be scratching your head.  If you think you heard Whitlock say that the N-word is being used by black people in an anti-black way, you heard right. That is what he's saying.  "The people that love the N-word, and love to use it, are part of a culture that is still hostile towards black people, still anti-education, and still very violent towards black people -- and I'm talking about the black people that are in love with this word."

Ryan Clark, in the story in the Pittsburgh media that I talked about in the last hour, made a point about the NFL penalizing the N-word, and he actually touches on the subject that there aren't many white guys using the word.  The word is being used predominantly by black guys, and that's when he said (summarized), "We got rid of it at the Steelers for a while but it came back.  It's just part of these young guys, rookies and 20-year-old guys. It's their culture.

"They come into the league and it's part of their vernacular/vocabulary.  It's just part of the way they talk.  You can't get rid of it.  It's a black-on-black word."  He said, "You'd have riots if a bunch of white guys were out there using this word all the time. That's not what's going on." Up next on ESPN's "Outside the Lines Special Report: The N-word," was Ryan Clark, the safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Bob Ley said, "How practical, Ryan, would it be for the league to enact this? How many times in a game do you here the word?"

CLARK:  I think it's gonna be really tough to just legislate this rule, to find a way to penalize everyone who uses this word.  And it's not gonna be white players using it toward black players.  Most of the time you hear it, it is black players using the word.  Legislating this on the field is gonna be tough.  You know, you hear black players say it to each other or you hear guys talk to each other who are on the same team and using the word.  And which way are you trying to legislate?  Are you trying to stop people from saying it in a demeaning way?  Are you trying to stop it from being a combative word?  Or are you just trying to legislate the word totally out of the game?  And I think that will be tough to impossible.

RUSH:  Well, yeah, let's throw some wrinkles into this, now, as Ryan Clark puts forth some interesting questions. "Are you trying to stop people from saying it in a demeaning way?  Are you trying to stop it from being a combative word?  Or are you just trying to legislate the word totally out of the game?" Now, what he undoubtedly means here and what Whitlock was talking about, is sometimes black guys call other black guys that word insultingly.  Other times it's a term of endearment. 

Am I right about that?  Other times it's a term of endearment, other times it's an insult, other times it doesn't mean anything. It's just a word that's being thrown out.  It's like saying, "Hey, brother. Hey, guy. Hey, how are you?"  But you've gotta be accredited in order to be able to use it.  He said, "The white guys are not using the word."  So what's not being said here by either Whitlock or Ryan Clark -- at least in these two bites. Now, they might have said it in the show and I didn't see the show. 

I've just got these two sound bites.  And if they didn't say it, somebody's gonna say, "Wait a minute, man!" Well, folks, let's go back to the NBA, because the fans hear much more of what's said on the court at a basketball game than football fans are ever gonna hear on a football field.  You may not remember, the NBA... (chuckles) The commissioner of the NBA tried to eliminate the use of the... I can't say it.  I don't even know how to cite it. (sigh)

The first word's "mother."  It was just all over the place, in the heat of battle. It was just all over the place in the NBA, and they tried to shut it down, and the players got mad. They said, "It doesn't mean what it means to you. It's just the way we insult guys. It just the way we talk."  So what Whitlock and Ryan Clark... They may have said it on the program, but it's very possible that the people who are targeted here and whom protest and say that the league is engaging in unfair, punitive action by trying to rid a word from their lancing. 

In other words, their freedom is being insulted here. The league is simply saying (summarized), "We don't..." Well, I don't know about the league. The Fritz Pollard Alliance is saying (summarized), "We don't want the word anywhere.  We're just not gonna tolerate it. I don't care what excuse you have for using it. I don't care how you use it. That word is reprehensible, it's demeaning, and we are not gonna permit it," and these guys are saying there's gonna be some push-back. 

There's gonna be some push-back.  Now, stop and think.  A 15-yard penalty is it. That's all.  The second time, you get tossed out.  (interruption)Yes, what's the question? (interruption) Oh, come on! Do...? (interruption) Of course they know when they draft these guys how they talk.  This is political... (interruption) Let me tell you something.  The league can do this.  Mr. Rooney, he didn't want the word.

Rooney also said, "I don't want to hear it in the music you playing, either.  I don't want to hear it coming out of the speakers in the locker room. I don't want to hear it on the field."  So, you know, that... How much of the rap library are you canceling by not permitting the N-word to be played musically in the locker room? How much of the rap catalog is going to the dustbin with that rule?  So... (interruption) Yeah, "bitch/ho," that stuff's fine.  But the N-word? Zero tolerance.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  I just have, folks, a couple questions here.  Did you ever stop and think, "Why now?"  Where'd this come from? This behavior that they wish now to eliminate has been going on for 20 years, 25, longer than that.  Why now does the Redskins gotta go?  Why now?  Is it outed nowhere.  I mean, it's always been there as a little bitty thing here, but it's a major cause celebre now -- and, of course, the media hears about it, and everybody signs on to it, and now everybody is applauding and celebrating the banning of the N-word. 

Why now? 

Could it be the Dolphins?  Is it what happened with Incognito and Jonathan Martin and the bullying?  If you recall about that, Richie Incognito... I forgot the exact terminology, but it was learned that Incognito was made an honorary brother by the black guys on the Dolphins.  When that news leaked out, they went and talked to Terry Bradshaw about that and he said (paraphrased), "I... I... (stammering) The league's changed.  I didn't know there was such a thing.  I didn't know you could be an honorary brother in the locker rooms."

Cris Collinsworth said the same thing. (paraphrased)"What the hell is this?  I never heard about this."  Boomer Esiason said (paraphrased), "What in the world are they talking about, honorary brother?"  Last week on this program, if you'll recall, we reported a story about how school discipline was racist.  The black kids were being disciplined out of proportion, and the Regime was establishing new disciplinary guidelines. 

Remember this?  We knew what the solution was gonna be. It was not gonna be to punish the people that needed it.  They're gonna leave that alone, but it was judged to be unfair and unequal.  There was inequality the way discipline being passed out, and it was racist.  Now, look at this.  I mean, you got a league in which 75% of the players are black, and here comes, in effect, a disciplinary penalty that affects 75%...

Well, it affects 100%, but it's really impacts 75% of the players. Could there be somebody down the road say, "Wait a minute! This is racist.  You are targeting 75%.  We're the majority."  What do you mean?  We're being governed by the minority.  "We like the word.  We want to use it. It doesn't mean what you think it means.

"It's got its own connotations. It's our culture."  But now they want to criminalize speech, policy, anything else that they can -- and can they actually do this?  Well, they could.  I think they could.  The referee is gonna have to call it every time they hear the word.  Can you imagine how shocked the fans might end up being if they literally do that? 

Let's go to the phones.  People have been patiently waiting.  We'll start in Orange, New Jersey, with John.  Welcome, sir.  Great to have you on the program.  Hi.

CALLER:  Hey, Rush.  Thanks for having me.  My pleasure.

RUSH:  You bet.

CALLER:  When I saw this over the weekend, I didn't know whether A, to laugh that it was funny, or, B, to just shake my head of the absurdity of it.  Because if you think about it, let's say you just are gonna penalize that one word.  How can you do that with a straight face? Where I, as an Italian-America, a may be offended by the G-word, the D-word, or the W-word, or you as an Irish-American -- not that you're Irish, but as an Irish-American, the M-word.

RUSH:  No, I'm kraut American.

CALLER:  There you go.  Oh, God forbid, the K-word.  So how do you do that with a straight face? If you're going to say, "Okay, we'll penalize all the words," is there gonna be a list? When the players come in for training camp, do they get the playbook in one hand and the list of words on the other hand?

RUSH:  Yeah.  This is never the end of it.  It's always the starting point with the left.  This is never the solution to the problem.  After you ban the N-word, then are you gonna ban the word "ho"?  Are you gonna ban other kinds of what is considered to be profanity?

CALLER:  Exactly.

RUSH:  You know, what if somebody uses the G-D word? What if somebody calls you a female anatomy? That's a real insult on the football field.

CALLER:  Exactly.

RUSH:  Where does this stuff stop?

CALLER:  And --

RUSH:  Of course, then the targets of this, the guys using the N-word are gonna say, "Wait a minute. That's not half as bad as some of the other stuff you should hear out here." But I'm just fascinated by the origin.  Why now?  What happened?  This isn't new.  The use of this word on the field by black players to other black players isn't new.  So what is it that got the Fritz Pollard Alliance on the warpath about this, or the NFL?  There is an answer.  I don't know what it is.  There is an explanation. 

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Let's look at this NFL thing.  Who is it, when you get right down to brass tacks, leading this effort to police the N-word?  You have a league here that's 75% African-American.  All of a sudden, apparently out of the clear blue of the western sky, comes the edict that no longer shall the word be permitted to be uttered. 

And if it is, the first infraction is 15 yards.  The second infraction, you are kicked out of the game.  Who's doing this?  Who is imposing this rule on a majority of African-American players?  Is it conservatives?  Is it Christians?  Is it pro-lifers?  Is it the Moral Majority?  No.  It's rich, white, liberal elites who are telling black players in the NFL what they can't say.  When will we hear from the Reverend Jackson pointing fingers at the people responsible for this repression and for this censorship? 

Well, the point here is, who is considered the best friend of these guys?  White liberal elites, right?  They're looking out for you.  Who is it that's attempting to enact this punitive behavior and punishment on them?  It's not the people that they've been told to fear.  It's not the people who they've been told are their enemies.  It's not those people.  And who was it that sicked the dogs and the fire hoses on 'em in Selma?

It wasn't a bunch of Republicans.

It wasn't a bunch of conservatives. 

It wasn't a bunch of Christians. 

It was Bull Connor and the Democrat Party who were the segregationists. 

Who founded the KKK?  It was not some old Republican senator.  Nope. 

A famous Democrat senator, Robert "Sheets" Byrd, was a Grand Kleagle wizard of the KKK who was in the KKK.  It's just fascinating to me to watch all this.  All of these minorities have been told to keep a sharp eye out for this group and that group and that guy and this guy 'cause they're enemies and they don't like you. And while they're looking at these supposed enemies, their supposed friends are the ones that want to now criminalize their speech and penalize aspects of their culture (in their view, anyway) and their behavior. 

Here's Ethan in Binghamton, New York.  Great to have you on the program.  Hello.  Ethan?

CALLER:  Hello. Thanks for taking my call.  It's an honor to talk to you.

RUSH:  You bet, sir.  Thank you for waiting.

CALLER:  No problem.  I was just wondering if this whole thing... A couple weeks back, a couple of US Democratic senators announced that they were gonna write letters to Roger Goodell, the head of the NFL, to pressure the Redskins into changing their name. The Redskins wrote a letter back to these senators saying, "Why don't you do your real job?" and I was wondering if this rule that they're instituting in the NFL now might be a back door to try and get the NFL to make the Redskins name illegal.

RUSH:  It could be part of it, but it's not the whole thing because believe me, the N-word, that's a bigger deal than the Redskins.  The Redskins... There might be somebody thinking, "If we can get the N-word banned, then we can finally get the Redskins to dump their name."  But, no, no, no.  There's something else behind this.  There's something else that is the impetus for this right now.

I would have to say, if anything, it would have to be what went on at the Dolphins locker room and the Ted Wells report -- and the bullying and the insulting and all that -- and the reactive nature of people to try to get a handle on what they think is a budding, effervescing problem.  It could well be that this has been something the league's been concerned about for the longest time but never thought they had reason to implement it.

Now they do because of what happened in the Dolphins locker room.  Remember, this is a multibillion-dollar business.  It may be a sport, but to these people, it's a multibillion-dollar business, and it survives by being loved and adored by the public.  There are PR people throughout this business who are constantly in a defensive mode about anything that could change the people's view of the game. 

I think that's why there's so much focus on the violence and the barbarism and the maiming and all that, and now the language.  But I could be all wet. There could be other things. It could just be liberals in their natural element, policing speech they don't want to hear.  It could be nothing more complicated than that. 

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Let's continue here with ESPN's "Outside the Lines Special Report: The N-word," a special program that was aired last night on ESPN.  One of the guests on the program was Michael Wilbon, the co-host of Pardon the Interruption, and they're talking about the banning, the potential banning and penalizing any player uttering the N-word on the field during games.  Bob Ley was the host. He said, hey, to Wilbon, "The NFL is proposing to criminalize this word.  What do you think about that, Michael?"

WILBON:  The use of this particular word -- the objection to it, the embracing of it, the emotion wrapped around it -- is more complex than any word that I can think of in the English language, and so when a league of owners -- who are very, by the way, removed from the use of the word. Last I checked, how many black owners (are) in the NFL right now?  When you have that situation, I'm not sure that they should be framing the discussion.  You already referred to my position on this.  As I have said to my dear friend of 35 years, Tony Kornheiser: "You don't get a vote in this one."  Whitlock and I go back and forth on years about this.  "Hey, you gotta stop doing this."  That's fine.  We can do that, in my opinion. We can do that because we're talking about ownership of the word.

RUSH:  So I need to translate this for you?  Wilbon, who's African-American, and Whitlock he's talking to, African-American, they can use it, they can debate it, they can talk about it, and they can tell you that you can't use it all day long.  "You, Kornheiser, white guy? You don't have a vote. You can't say a word. You can't use the word, and you can't comment on those of us who do -- and therefore you lilywhite NFL owners, you don't know about this word!

"You don't know about its complexities. You don't know how it's used as a term of endearment, as an insult, as just a greeting. You don't get to tell us what we can say and can't say.  But we can certainly tell you what you can and can't say."  That's what he's saying. That's the right that he's reserving there. (interruption) What?  (interruption) Well, they're in the process of telling him what he can and can't say, but he's telling them that they have no right to. 

They're not black.  Therefore, they can't use the word, and they can't comment on those who do.  But the people who are black not only can use it however they want, they can also tell you that you can't use it if you're white -- and it's simply because they own the word and you don't.  Wilbon and Whitlock own the word, and Kornheiser doesn't get a vote.  So Kornheiser represents the lilywhite NFL owners, and the commissioner and everybody else. 

So I told you this was gonna be the case, and the point that I was trying to make is Wilbon gets it.  It's a bunch of these liberal white, you name it, plantation owners, basically, who are now -- from on high -- telling these guys what they can and can't say, and the reaction is, "Who are you?  Who are you and who do you think you are?  You can't tell us what to say.  We own the word.  It isn't your word." 

(interruption)

Another question from the Official Program Observer.  What is it, sir? 

(interruption) 

Well, now, see, when you ask, "Why now? What all of a sudden has moved this to the forefront?" well, the first gay player in the NFL is still on the come.  He's not there yet. He's gotta get drafted, and then he has to make the team. So the first gay player on the come, Michael Sam from Mizzou, is black.  Maybe they're just trying to get a hold of this before it gets out of hand.   I'd like to ask Wilbon about this. 

Maybe... No, this can't possibly be.  I was gonna say, "Maybe the people making this rule do not know that the black guys use it all. Maybe they think only white guys use it against the black guys." They can't possibly think that, right?  They have to know. (interruption)  Okay.  So if they know that, then they are actively censoring 75% of the players. 

Well, they're censoring all the players, but 75% think they own the word and can use it.  Now, Wilbon. Let's go back to November 14th, 2013, on ESPN's Pardon the Interruption, the N-word.  Tony Kornheiser was speaking with Wilbon about the LA Clippers Matt Barnes.  He's a forward.  He had to apologize after he was fined for using the N-word in a tweet after he was ejected from a game.  You remember that?  This guy...

(interruption)

You don't remember that? 

I'm sure nobody else does, either, but I've got it right here.  It says here, "Forward Matt Barnes of the Clippers had to apologize after he was fined for using the N-word in a tweet after he was ejected from a game," and Kornheiser said to Wilbon, "Barnes has apologized via Twitter today.  What do you say about the issue of the use of the inflammatory N-word?"

WILBON:  People can be upset with me if they want.  I, like a whole lot of people, use the N-word all day, every day my whole life.  Publicly, I wouldn't do that, but I have no issue with it.  I have a problem with -- and excuse me, here -- white people framing the discussion for the use of the N-word.  They better not sit there like plantation owners and tell black people how to use a language that was forced on us!

RUSH:  Oh-ho!  Oh. Okay.  So the N-word was "forced on" them, and now they own it.  So they aren't gonna have these liberal plantation owners telling these guys what they can and can't say.  See how this is shakes out? Wilbon gets it.  Wilbon actually gets what's going on here. It's a plantation. But he loves the liberals anyway.  He is one; it doesn't matter.  But on this one, he's a little ticked off at 'em. 

Now, it was also Wilbon who explained how Richie Incognito could be an honorary black guy in the Miami Dolphins locker room.  This goes back to November 6th of last year on ESPN's Pardon the Interruption: The N-word.  I think they just ought to call every show on ESPN -- Sports Center, whatever it is -- "The N-word."  "Pardon the Interruption: The N-word." 

"Outside the Lines: The N-word."  "Monday Night Countdown: The N-word."  It was on "Pardon the Interruption: The N-word," November 6th, 2013. Kornheiser (who doesn't have a vote on the N-word), asked Wilbon, "Armando Salguero the Miami Herald today that multiple black players on the Miami Dolphins consider Richie Incognito a black guy. 'He was accepted by the black players. He was an honorary black man.' Does this ring true to you?"

WILBON:  Doesn't ring true; it is true.  This goes back to slavery.  House N and field N, okay?  When they were separated, and seemingly the people in the house were closer to who?  The white man.  This is about relationship, this is about how you're perceived, this is about blackness, okay, culturally and spiritually, not about the actual color of your skin.  There are people always in all black subcultures who are white, who are more accepted as being blacker than black people, who may be, as we see, "blue black."

RUSH:  (laughing) Can we possibly keep up with this?  Is there any way we can self-police on this?  So let's see. Uh, we got white people being more accepted as being blacker than black people, they blue black.  And then you have people like Clarence Thomas who aren't black but they are, but they're Uncle Tom whites.  And Richie Incognito is an honorary black guy.  Then they went around, and that's when they asked Bradshaw and Collinsworth and all these other old veterans and they were stymied. They had never heard anything like this.  They had no clue that these kinds of divisions existed in the locker room.

END TRANSCRIPT

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