Richard Sherman: N-word Ban for NFL Is 'Atrocious,' 'Almost Racist'

Image: Richard Sherman: N-word Ban for NFL Is 'Atrocious,' 'Almost Racist'

Tuesday, 04 Mar 2014 07:42 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Richard Sherman thinks the N-word ban being floated by the NFL is an "atrocious idea" and "almost racist."

Sherman is one of the league's most outspoken stars. His language came into question during a TV interview following the NFC championship game, which his Seattle Seahawks won on their way to a Super Bowl title. He's no fan of the NFL's attempt to ban the N-word.

Last month, John Wooten, head of the NFL's Fritz Pollard Alliance, suggested to the league that it give players an automatic 15-yard penalty if they use the N-word on the field. That proposal will come before owners this month.

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"I will be totally shocked if the competition committee does not uphold us on what we're trying to do," Wooten said, according to "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." 

Sherman, whose rant against San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree after the NFC's title game last season tarnished his image, told Sports Illustrated's Monday Morning Quarterback blog why he is opposed to the proposed ban. 

"It's an atrocious idea," Sherman said. "It's almost racist, to me. It's weird they're targeting one specific word. Why wouldn't all curse words be banned then?"

Sherman, who is black, said that there's a big difference in the word's meaning among African-American players when there is an "a" at the end rather than an "er."

"It's in the locker room and on the field at all times," Sherman told Monday Morning Quarterback. "I hear it almost every series out there on the field."

Ozzie Newsome, former Cleveland Browns Hall of Famer tight end and one of the NFL's longest running African-American executives, said the goal is to clean up all foul language on the field, including homophobic slurs.

"We did talk about it, I'm sure that you saw near the end of the year that Fritz Pollard (Alliance) came out very strong with the message that the league needs to do something about the language on the field," Newsome, the Baltimore Ravens general manager who is on the league's competition committee, told ESPN. "So we did discuss over the last three days."

Riley Cooper, a white Philadelphia Eagles player who found himself in hot water for his use of the word off the field last summer, told that he thought the proposed ban was a positive change.

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