The N-Word debate was started up again earlier this month after the Richie Incognito scandal in the NFL erupted. Now with NBA player Matt Barnes and his profane Twitter tirade, where where he used the term and got fined, ESPN‘s Skip Bayless is calling for an end to everyone using N-Word.
The sports commentator has never been one to shy away from voicing his strong opinions, doing so earlier today (Nov. 15) in a blog post for ESPN criticizing the word’s casual usage. Bayless’ words seem to come from a good place, but he carefully notes that as a white man that his umbrage at the word is personal.
God help us if today’s rampant use of the N-word – by rappers and athletes and movie-makers black and white – is subliminally signaling to white kids that it’s somehow OK to view black people in remotely the same way many of this country’s forefathers did: as subhumans mostly suited for enslaving and serving a superior race.
Bayless goes on to share a story about his grandparent’s black housekeeper, and how a chance moment between he and another white boy led to his distaste for the N-word. The boy called Bayless the N-word, prompting his family’s housekeeper to react angrily, saying, “Don’t you EVER use that word again as long as you live.”
Bayless takes care to also mention Philadelphia Eagles player Riley Cooper and the ongoing debacle in the Miami Dolphins camp regarding Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito. All of these are valid points of contention of why the word shouldn’t be used, and could signal that folks are throwing the word around aimlessly.
Barnes’ outburst came at a particularly bad time, and the NBA fined him $25,000 for dropping the N-word on his personal Twitter account, and a skirmish with Serge Ibaka of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.
Charles Barkley, like Bayless’ ESPN cohort Stephen A. Smith, says he uses the N-word and doesn’t intend to stop. In an especially bold move, the outspoken Barkley added whites shouldn’t tell blacks how to use the term and when.
“Matt Barnes, there’s no apology needed,” Barkley said Thursday on Inside The NBA. “I’m a black man. I use the N-word. I’m going to continue to use the N-word with my black friends, with my white friends. They are my friends.”
While Barkley did say Barnes was out of line for using the word publicly and violating the NBA’s social media policy, his comments show that the gravity of the word varies from person to person. Bayless raises a few good points but until more black athletes and rappers of prominence add to the conservation, it may all fall on deaf ears.
Hit the jump to see Charles Barkley’s comments on the n-word debate.