As the NFL’s competition committee soon considers a rule that would penalize players for using the N-word on the field, one veteran believes it will be difficult for the league to police the use of the racial slur, ESPN reports.
“I think it’s going to be really tough to legislate this rule, to find a way to penalize everyone who uses this word,” Steelers safety Ryan Clark told ESPN’s Bob Ley during an “Outside The Lines” special report.
“And it’s not going to be white players using it toward black players. Most of the time you hear it, it’s black players using the word.”
OTL examined the use of the N-word across generations and the black and white cultures, and tapped into the ongoing controversy in Miami.
Last week investigator Ted Wells, who was hired by the league to examine the Dolphins’ workplace environment, concluded that offensive lineman Jonathan Martin was subjected to “a pattern of harassment” that included racial slurs from teammate Richie Incognito.
While some portrayed the Dolphins’ locker room as unmanaged and lacking leadership, Clark by comparison said the Steelers’ locker room is a place of mutual respect and even restraint, where team owner Dan Rooney even has tried to discourage the playing of rap music.
“He told [teammate Ike Taylor], I don’t want you guys listening to that music. I don’t want you guys using that word,” Clark recounted.
“And his reason behind it was that people fought against people using that word. People felt like that word was demeaning. There were terrible acts done by men using that word and by people using that word.”
Clark said that Taylor had the music shut off because of Rooney.
“Guys accepted it. It wasn’t like that you stopped hearing the music totally. You stopped hearing it that day,” Clark said. “But it came back. That’s the culture. That’s what these guys have grown up with.”
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