Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is not happy with the NFL's proposed ban on use of the N-word on the playing field, calling the measure "almost racist."
"It's an atrocious idea," the Super Bowl champ told Sports Illustrated columnist Peter King in an interview published Monday.
"It's almost racist, to me. It's weird they're targeting one specific word. Why wouldn't all curse words be banned then?" he asked.
Mr. Sherman argued that the N-word ending in "-er" is racist, but the version ending in "-a" is not when its used among blacks.
"It's in the locker room and on the field at all times," he said. "I hear it almost every series out there on the field."
Tennessee cornerback Jason McCourty argued that it's a common word used among football players and it's a part of their "everyday lives."
"Among African-American players and people, it's used among friends all the time," he said. "It seems like a bit much for the NFL to try to get rid of it. It's a pretty common word in the locker room, like 'man,' 'bro' … But once a white person says it, it's a derogatory term."
Free agent linebacker D'Qwell Jackson added, "Ultimately, if the NFL can get it done, it's great for our game. But I think refs have a hard enough time officiating the game now. Now they'd be asked to police language?"
The NFL's competition committee is expected to discuss the measure March 23-26 in Orlando, Fla. If approved, players would be penalized 15 yards for using racial slurs on the field.
John Wooten, a former NFL lineman and the chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation, told ESPN that he doesn't think a 15-yard penalty is a strong enough punishment.
"I'll even accept the fact that they say we're going to warn them in preseason but during the [regular season] games, if it comes up, we're going to take him to the sideline to the coach and tell the coach, 'Coach this a warning. Next time he's out of here.' I want it to be that drastic," he said.
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