Joe Flacco: 'The R-Word' Pledge Shared With Maryland Special Olympics

Image: Joe Flacco: 'The R-Word' Pledge Shared With Maryland Special Olympics

Tuesday, 21 May 2013 09:17 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Joe Flacco, the Baltimore Ravens quarterback and Super Bowl XLVIII champion, has pledged to never again use the "R word," aka "retarded," in an attempt to eliminate the derogatory term from the vernacular of so many Americans. Flacco uttered the phase in the lead up to the Super Bowl and caught grief for it.

The pledge, which Flacco made with two of his Ravens' teammates — tight end Ed Dickson and center Gino Gradkowski — was shared via a photo of the signing ceremony on the Maryland Special Olympics' Twitter page Saturday.

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The "R word" elimination pledge is known as the "Spread the Word to End the Word" pledge run through the Special Olympics.


Historically used to describe a person with an intellectual or developmental disability, the offensive term has morphed into slang meaning "stupid" or "idiotic."

In January, Flacco uttered the "R word" in the week preceding Super Bowl XLVII when asked for his reaction to the idea of holding a Super Bowl in a cold-weather place such as the New York Giant's stadium in New Jersey.

"Yeah, I think it’s retarded," Flacco told a reporter from Denver. "I probably shouldn’t say that. I think it’s stupid. If you want a Super Bowl, put a retractable dome on your stadium. Then you can get one. Other than that I don’t really like the idea. I don’t think people would react very well to it, or be glad to play anybody in that kind of weather."

Flacco immediately apologized for the comment in January during a press conference.

"Obviously, it was a bad choice of words. I wish I hadn't said it," Flacco said. "I have a great relationship with Special Olympics back in Baltimore and have had one for many years. I didn't mean to offend anybody, but I definitely apologize for it."

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Super Bowl XLVIII will be played Feb. 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, N.J. at MetLife Stadium, the home of New York Giants and New York Jets.

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