Colin Kaepernick Denies Saying Anything For Landmark 'Inappropriate Language' Penalty
My first thought was, really, NFL? You're going to start throwing flags for bad language? If so you're going down a murky, dangerous, insane fucking road. I don't see this going well at all.
It went almost unnoticed on Sunday night, but among the 49ers' 16 accepted penalties against the Bears was one on Colin Kaepernick for “inappropriate language” ... an unsportsmanlike penalty that added 15 yards to the end of an interception he had just thrown in the fourth quarter. The usual jawing and taunting was going on following the play when referee Carl Cheffers threw the flag seemingly out of nowhere, then explained to the crowd that it was for something Kaepernick said.
Collective what, now? That was the first such call in NFL history, and a new rule this year. Seems appropriate that it was called in the season opener at a brand new stadium. But Kaepernick denied it all. From the San Jose Mercury News:
What did he say that got him the penalty after that second interception, the first of two by the Bears’ Kyle Fuller?
“I didn’t say anything,” Kaepernick replied.
Reporter: “You didn’t use a slur of any kind?”
Reporter: “So were you shocked when (referee Carl Cheffers) announced ‘inappropriate language?’
Reporter: “It seemed like Lamarr Houston was trying to bait you into something afterward. You didn’t say anything back?”
It doesn't seem like Kaepernick is protesting enough: if I had been flagged for bad language after saying nothing, I'd be complaining like holy
hell heck. So something's fishy.
But it doesn't smell as bad as the rule itself. The rumor is that the NFL is trying to stop players from using the n-word during games, and so that must have been what Kaepernick said, we're all guessing. But the very fact that it's a rumor is what's wrong with it. If you're banning the n-word, why not just say so? The way that NBCSports' Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth explained it on Sunday night, the league has banned "certain words", but won't say which ones, exactly.
Michaels: "The league said that officials will know (the words) when they hear them."
So there is no specific rule against using the n-word, but the NFL competition committee has made it a "point of emphasis" to flag that word, and possibly homophobic slurs, during games. It's all under the umbrella of unsportsmanlike conduct, and remains very vague.
And that's a great way to approach a new rule: make it as arbitrary and muddled as possible, with plenty of room for argument. This is a Roger Goodell joint, so we expect nothing less.
Personally I'm in favor of strengthening the rules already in place. There's already a rule against taunting, and in my opinion that should be expanded to include all the verbal in-your-face shenanigans that occur seemingly after every play in an NFL game. The DB who knocks down a pass, and then follows the receiver for five or ten yards yelling smack in his earhole afterward sends a terrible message to viewers -- especially kids. It's one of the biggest turnoffs about this league, something that can instantly turn a great game ugly.
So crack down on that, which should be easy to do. Critics say that it would result in too many flags, and slow down the game. Well, it took San Francisco and Chicago almost two hours to play the first half on Sunday, thanks to 17 penalties. The officials have already taken the game out of the hands of the players this season with their new emphasis on calling Every Fucking Thing That Technically Could Be A Penalty If Only I Were Closer To See It. Expanding the taunting rule would slow the game for the first two or three weeks, until players got the message.
Goodell and the boys down in the front office have many larger concerns than potty language on the field. There's a report out that one in every three NFL players will have concussion issues in their lifetimes. Why don't you guys try to hone in on that? Leave the verbal etiquette issues alone until you can get your players to stop punching out their girlfriends and buying HGH in bulk.
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