Good morning Bills Fans and Rumblers,
Today's morning Joe is going to be a little bit edgy; so if you don't like your Joe a little "strong" on Monday mornings, then you might want to stop reading here, or wait until later in the week to read this. But if you are the type of person who like to have open and honest discussion about a topic, that is a little uncomfortable but necessary to have in today's society; keep reading.
With that being said; I will promise to be as "PC" as possible, but also be as real and authentic as always. There is a thin line, so I'll try to walk it.
I know what you all thinking; leave it up to DoctorK to start a controversial thread like this one. Yes! that's me. The truth is, we all have had the discussion about the "N-Word" at some point in our lives. We discussed the Riley Cooper incident with our friends, family, co-workers, strangers in the street, etc. But to my knowledge, we haven't had this discussion amongst ourselves as Rumblers.
We have a really tight community here, so I'm sure we will all be respectful to one another. I'm not afraid that this thread would be remove, since BG said that we will be responsible for monitoring our own site. This topic isn't necessarily Bills related, but it very well can be.
I want the focus of this thread to be from a football perspective, and not from the perspective of race-relations in America. However, you can't discuss the Cooper incident with out mentioning race.
Like many of you, I'm a bit tired of the topic, but I felt that it should be addressed here. What I would do in this thread however, is have little mini topics built in so that you can pick and choose what you want to read. I figure that will make it a little easier.
So let's get started shall we?
Disclaimer: What I'm about to say is my opinion only. I do not speak for all African Americans. This is entirely based off of my experiences, and my perception.
The "N" Word
(Sigh) I'm the one of the people who believes that the word has two different meanings, I believe that's called a homonym, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. There are two different varieties, the word that has the "ER" ending (derogatory) and the word that ends with "GA" (slang for many different meanings but usually isn't meant to be racist or derogatory). Like any homonym, the way you use the word in a sentence can determine the meaning of the word and its intent. The way Riley used the word (ER), was in a hurtful and derogatory way. You see I didn't say racist, right? I will get in to that a little later.
I personally been called both, and reacted differently each time. Like I said the intent matters.
Who Can Say It
(Sigh) (Sigh) First off, we are talking about the slang version of the word "GA", and not the derogatory version "ER". You have to distinguish between the two and recognize the difference, because if not you won't understand. The "ER" version of the word is offensive, and it should never be used by anyone. When you hear kids, athletes, rappers, saying it, more than likely it's the slang version.
Have you heard this question or asked this question yourself? How come a black person can say it and I can't say it? If so, that's your answer right there. You don't understand it, therefore you can't say it. Let me break it down for you.
Many people make the mistake and think this word can and can't be said because of the color of their skin or there ethnicity. This is totally inaccurate. The slang version of the word has more to do with the combination of a persons social-economic condition, their culture, and their environment. The slang version of the "N" word isn't a black or white thing, it's a "Green" thing. The word is primarily used by the "Have-Nots" and not the "Haves". It just so happen, that the majority of the people in this country that are the "Have-Nots", happen to be minorities, which includes Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, etc. The use of the slang version of the "N" word isn't a race issue, it's a class issue. Think about that for a moment.
You can't say it, because you have not been where I've been, at where I'm at, struggled how I struggled.
To really understand it, just think of it as a fraternity or a gang. We all understand that both groups have certain colors, handshakes, codes, words, that can only be used by certain people in said group. I grew up an environment where I couldn't wear certain colors, make certain hand gestures, and say certain things because it was disrespectful. If I did there were consequences; so out of respect I refrained from those things. The slang version of the "N" word is the same thing. If you hear ANYONE that say it and you know they aren't apart of your "fraternity", its offensive. Like any gang or fraternity, there is a price to pay to be accepted, and if you haven't paid that price or made that sacrifice, you can't reap the benefits.
Last point. I ride the train to work every day, and come across a variety of different people. I have heard the slang version of the "N" word used by all types of ethnicities, and I can tell if it's authentic or fake. I've heard black people say it, and it found it offensive, because I knew they really didn't understand the origin of it's meaning.
For me personally, I use the word. It's just apart of my vernacular at this point, no different from someone from the south saying "Y'all". I only say it amongst my other "fraternity" members, and know that if I say it around the wrong people I can be misunderstood. The wrong people doesn't necessarily mean white people, it means people who don't come from the type of environment I came from, listen to the same music, speak how I speak, and have gone through my same struggle.
Riley Cooper and the "N" Word
Riley used the word in a way that was meant to be offensive and derogatory ; he used the "ER" version. Now lets be honest, because he used the "N" word does this makes him a racist? Not necessarily. I don't know the man personally to call him a racist. That is up for his friends, family, and teammates to decide. When I was called the "N" word, did I think the guy who called me it was a racist? I don't know. I know that when I heard Riley say it, it came from a really dark place. He was very angry, and he said something that he thought would cause the most damage. His words were meant to offend, just like he was offended.
We can't judge people by the slip of the tongue, or by the words that was used in anger. Yes, we can try to make certain conclusions, but we must understand that those conclusions aren't always accurate.
If you ever used the word B*tch, slut, whore are you a sexist? If you ever use the word f*g, are you homophobic? If you ever had too many drinks and got behind the wheel, are you an alcoholic? Folks, some people are just a$$holes, and say and do some real stupid stuff all the time. Riley very well could be one of them; racist? I just don't know.
Teammates Reactions to Riley
I think for the most part, the majority of the players knows Riley the person. No one is going to agree with what he said, and they have the right to be offended. They can't let this incident divide their locker room, because the season is much more important. They have their own fraternity and they have to support one another. They might not like the guy now, but they got to have his back for the sake of the team and the common goal.
Punishment Fitting the Crime
Should Riley been suspended? I don't think so, I think the fine and the sensitivity training is enough. The Mayor of Philadelphia who spoke out against the NFL for not being involved in my opinion is just trying to appease his constituents. I just think politicians should just stay out of sports.
The guy just said something stupid, he didn't cheat the game.
If This Was a Bills Player
I'm more concerned about what you all think. If he played for your favorite team, what would you want to happen? Does his status on the team matter at all? Would you want him suspended or cut? Would you still be supportive?
Okay I'm done! I had a lot of sighs as I wrote this. I really hope it wasn't too out there. This is just my opinion, and it doesn't make it right. It's just a perspective that I have. I deal with all people the same, if you good to me, I'm good to you. I assume that people pre-judge me based on a stereotype that they have I, and I do the same, which is fine because no one is perfect. All I ask is for a little R.E.S.P.E.C.T