Michael Wilbon, a co-host of EPSN’s Pardon The Interruption, is trending on the internet today for his use of the N-word on national television. Wilbon, who is African American, spoke out against a proposed rule the NFL is considering that would penalize a player 15-yards if they use the N-word on the field. While Wilbon thinks that the word should be out of the game, penalizing a player for its use would be controversial in his opinion, especially considering that there are currently no black team owners and the league is run by a white commissioner.
In response to co-host Tony Kornheiser’s comment that the N-word has been such a defamatory word in a historic context and understands why the NFL would want to try and get rid of it, Wilbon stated, “It’s defaming in the context in which you saw it [in historical movies]. It is not defaming in the context in which I and many others use it every day. Not music and art; just language, just talk. I’m not a child of hip-hop; I use it every day with somebody else who uses it. And I understand people who don’t want to use it, I respect that. This is difficult, this is complicated.”
Wilbon went a step further on ESPN’s program Outside The Lines when he used the N-word on purpose to make a point. The co-host admitted to using the word with friends, even calling its use endearing.
This isn’t the first discussion that Wilbon has had about the N-word. During an episode of Pardon The Interruption from November of 2013, Wilbon and Kornheiser were discussing LA Clipper player Matt Barnes use of the word in a Tweet that sparked controversy. Wilbon wasn’t bothered by Barnes’ comments, “People can be upset with me if they want, I, like a whole lot of people, use the N-word all day, every day, my whole life and Matt Barnes is a person of color so if he wants to use it, I got no problem with that.”
Thank you, Michael Wilbon. CONTEXT. Words have meaning and context.
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