Miami Heat center Chris Bosh told a Miami radio station that he would support the NBA taking after the NFL in prohibiting the use of “all slurs” during play.
“It’s a very tough situation,” Bosh noted about singling out the N-word for special penalty. “If that’s the case, they should ban all slurs. And I know it’s a big deal, because I think that word is used too much, especially in the mainstream nowadays.”
Bosh’s remarks come in the wake of criticism, from the likes of NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkely and broadcaster Michael Wilbon, for sports leagues run by old white guys, and media watchdogs from the same demographic, punishing young black guys for the use of a word that has reemerged in the vernacular as a strange synonym for “dude” or “bro.”
“You’re gonna have a league with no black owners and a white commissioner–middle-aged and advanced-aged white men say to black players, mostly — because that’s what we’re talking about–you can’t use the N-word on the field of play, or we’re gonna penalize you,” Wilbon said of the NFL on ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption. “I’ve got a massive problem with that.”
Sports writer Jason Whitlock, also African American, recently offered a different take to ESPN’s Outside the Lines. “I think the league is taking the proper steps because I don’t think this issue is all that complex,” he opined. “I think we’ve made it complex, I think we’ve tried to desensitize or sanitize this word and it just won’t be desanitized…it will always be a reprehensible word.”
Bosh noted the confusion in the various forms of usage for the word traditionally associated with racism. “That’s why it’s so confused, because it’s in mainstream America now,” Bosh explained to the Miami radio reporter after last night’s game. “And a lot of people say, ‘Aw, I’m not a racist because I used it in a friendly way.’ It’s like I said–if you’re going to [prohibit] one word, then put them all in there. Use every slur, every negative curse word, if you will, and that will simplify it a little bit.”