*With the NFL considering a rule that would penalize use of the N-word during games, Miami Heat center Chris Bosh was asked if he would support a similar ban in the NBA.
“It’s a very tough situation,” Bosh told reporters after Wednesday’s practice in preparation for Thursday’s game against the New York Knicks. “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, who is black, said he hears the N-word used by players during games and that it creates uncomfortable situations, although he says it’s used primarily “in a friendly” way.
Bosh’s comments come at a time when both the NFL and NBA are dealing with controversial issues regarding race and sexual orientation of players.
Earlier this week, Jason Collins became the first openly gay player to participate in an NBA game after signing a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets. Former Missouri linebacker Michael Sam addressed questions during the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis about the prospects of becoming the first openly gay player to be drafted into the league.
The NFL is considering legislation to enforce 15-yard penalties for the use of racial and homophobic slurs. Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, who is part of the NFL’s competition committee, expects the league to address the issue during meetings next week in Naples, Fla., before formally presenting potential guidelines during owners’ meetings later in March.
Bosh is in favor of seeing the NBA follow suit but acknowledges that enforcing a similar penalty in basketball — which could conceivably come in the form of technical fouls or ejections for escalating offenses — would present a challenge for officiating crews.
“I don’t know how they’re going to [enforce] it,” he said. “That’s going to be a tough thing. It’s your word against his word. I think that can kind of get tricky.
“Well, what if I say this? There are a bunch of other [offensive] things I could say and not get a penalty. I think if we’re going to bring one thing in, I think we’ve got to put them all in the hat. And I think that’ll work out [better].”