NEW YORK (Reuters) – While many professional athletes trash talk opponents with relish and humor, the state of New Jersey is not laughing and has banned such behavior at the high school level.
Under new rules high school athletes in the states can be ejected for taunting opponents as part of an anti-bullying initiative that athletic officials said could serve as a model for other states.
The state this month implemented a ban on taunts, profanity and biased language during refereed games, and as of Monday, 20 students have been disqualified from play, one for using a racial slur, said Larry White, an assistant director at the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association.
Along with the rules of their sports, referees are now required to enforce a list of banned words. They are required to report an athlete to the state governing body of high school sports should his or her language cross the line from competitive banter to profanity.
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