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Sports Commentary 11/15/13 : The Word, And How To Use It

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(Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images Sport)

(Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images Sport)

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THE WORD, AND HOW TO USE IT

It’s been a devastating week for political correctness in the sports world as double standards turn into triple standards and reverse quadruple standards as who said what, where they said it, when they said it, how they said it, who they said it to and how slick they are at spinning what they said seems to matter much  more than what was actually said.  The sports world has taken to tossing around what was once considered the worst concievable word to use in any situation or setting like it’s so much polite dinner conversation.

Miami dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito is expected to meet with NFL officials to determine the terms of his return to the league and his multi million dollar salary following a suspension for using the word in a threatening manner while, allegedly, trying to toughen up teammate Jonathan Martin.  Incognito has been convinced all along that he’ll be fully exonerated when the context of his usage of the word is explained.  I didn’t realize there was an acceptable context.

This week Matt Barnes put the word in written context, tweeting it out following his ejection from the Clippers game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.  He couldn’t wait to use the word as a slur against his teammates, hopping onto twitter while the game was still going on to say he’s “Done standing up for these …….”, you fill in the blank.  The NBA seems to think money can now make the word go away.  Where once use of the word, at any time, in any context, to anyone, no matter how close, cost people careers, the going price in the NBA is apparently $25,000.  That’s how much Barnes is being charged for taking the word into a public forum.

Apparently the NBA does believe there is a time and a place for everything, even the word, as long as you meet one of the convoluted double or triple standards.  The league is actually embracing the word in promotion of it’s 2016 All Star Game in Toronto, selecting Toronto born rapper Drake, the quote-unquote “World Ambassador” of the Raptors, the Canadian city’s NBA team, to help promote that game.

Drake’s preferred canvas for presenting the word, in every vile interpretation of it you can imagine, is recorded music and video art form, including a collection he released in celebration of his partnership with the NBA, a compilation even fellow rappers are having trouble accepting.

Why should they accept it?  Maybe there’s so much pushing of the envelop going on in the belief that if we incorporate the word into everyday, main stream conversation the racial charge will be taken out of it, but I don’t understand how the word can ever be seen in an inoffensive light, regardless of how it’s used, or where, or when.

Are we about to turn a corner?  If we are, I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.  Who knows what word we’ll choose to work into polite society next?

With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.

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