After reports that the NFL could enact a 15-yard penalty for use of the N-word on the field of play, the topic of the word itself has come into debate and the national spectrum following an 'Outside The Lines' special report on the topic of the words use.
Talking to ESPN's Bob Ley, Ryan Clark of the Pittsburgh Steelers admitted that Chairman Dan Rooney wanted the word banning from the whole Steelers organization last season.
“Mr. Rooney actually talked to Ike Taylor about it this season. Ike and Mr. Rooney have a very good relationship,” Clark said. “He told Ike, ‘I don’t want you guys using that word.’”
"Ike went around to specific people and said, 'Listen, this is what Mr. Rooney told me,'" Clark continued. "He's the ambassador. We call him Old Man Rooney. He has a lot of respect, and because of the way he has treated us as players, as black athletes, also treated Coach Tomlin as a black coach, you know it's coming from a place of love."
But despite the wishes of the chairman, the word did creep back into players vocabulary after a while and overall the project failed.
“You stopped hearing it immediately that day,” Clark concluded. “But after a while it came back because it’s the culture. After a while it comes back because this is what these guys have grown up with.”
Whilst the rule does strike as a good idea, and all banning of it would be for the greater good, it seems that this generation of players has grown up with the word and use it freely without any hate.
Implementation may take time and it certainly won't be a quick fix.