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NJ high school sports association to ban “f-word” and “bias-language” trash talk

NJ high school sports association to ban “f-word” and “bias-language” trash talk

New rules will apply in NJ to football games and other high school sports that utilize referees, aimed at eliminating unsportsmanlike trash talk. 

Players and attendees will now be required to abide by expanded restrictions on certain conduct and speech, and in some cases, use of specific biased language will get a player reported to the Division on Civil Rights in the state’s Attorney General’s office.

From Star Ledger:

New Jersey this season is believed to be the first state in the country to institute new biased-language rules for high school sports. Officials are carrying laminated cards in their pockets outlining what will be considered crossing the line between competitive back-and-forth banter and discriminatory language.

Whoop and shout after delivering a big hit and you might get a warning.

But drop the “N-word” and you’re not only finished for that game and the next, but referees must report the infraction to the state’s governing body for high school athletics, which then passes the player’s name and the violation on to the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights in the Attorney General’s Office. 

Calling an opponent a “faggot” also will end a player’s day immediately. In fact, any verbal, written or physical conduct related to race, religion, ethnicity, gender, disability or sexual orientation is grounds for disqualification. After that, it can get a little tricky. In some instances, using the “F-word” is sure to get you tossed; in others, referees seemingly will have leeway to chalk it up to good-natured trash talking.

The new rules apply not only to football but every high school sport that uses officials. They also extend to fans in the stands, who often will be read a similar statement about biased language and behavior over the loudspeaker before games.

The crackdown is in response to an incident last year after accusations of racial taunting at a Thanksgiving football game between two competing NJ high schools.

Following that incident, complaints were sent to the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) and the state’s Division on Civil Rights.  Together with the Attorney General’s office, the groups met to expand the NJSIAA’s Sportsmanship Rule and define harsher penalties.

Referees will not only warn coaches and team captains of the rules against certain conduct and discriminatory language, but the rules “will also extend to fans in the stands, who often will be read a similar statement about biased language and behavior over the loudspeaker before games,” reported the Star Ledger.

The exact statement that will be read by officials to team captains at the beginning of a game is as follows, according to a document posted at the NJSIAA website:

“There will be no tolerance for negative statements or actions between opposing players or coaches.  This includes taunting, baiting, berating opponents or ‘trash talking’ or actions which ridicule or cause embarrassment to them.  It also includes harassing conduct related to race, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, or religion.  If such comments are heard, a penalty will be assessed immediately.  We have been instructed not to issue warnings.  It is your responsibility to remind your team of this policy.”

While the expansion in rules is well intended, it’s also likely to present difficulties in determining what crosses the line and warrants harsher punishment.  And that’s a challenge that has some concerned, according to the Star Ledger.

Some coaches and fans say a sufficient sportsmanship rule was already in place to safeguard against vicious language, and they worry that the new rules could lead to an increase in quick player ejections by officials asked to make judgment calls on what they hear on the field. Some fear the NJSIAA is trying to completely eliminate even innocent, competitive trash talking and cheering.

“For some reason, people think it was out of control,” St. Peter’s Prep football coach and athletic director Rich Hansen said. “So putting another rule in place, to me, doesn’t necessarily fix the issue.”

In addition to the rules set forth by the NJSIAA, public schools are already obligated to enforce additional rules under the New Jersey Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act, which prohibits harassment, intimidation and bullying on school property or at school sponsored functions, according to the NJSIAA document.


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Jeez… It was an equalizer for the less talented but smart athletes when I played.

Getting the dumb guy to concentrate on what you’re saying instead of hitting the ball was a great strategy I used as a catcher. Of course I didn’t actually talk to the batter I was just talking about him to the pitcher and never used foul language.

Why allow football games in the first place? After all, someone loses at the end and it could hurt their feelings. Every time a player gets hit, it could constitute bullying.

I hope some fan gets sent to the state Atty.General for a “speech” violation. If this passes the first amendment, we are all doomed.

Besides, can you imagine who is using the “n” word….that’s right, the privileged minority, who, according to Rachel Jeantel, say that white’s using the word is racist, but not when a brother uses it.

basically, the players are being TOLD that they have to do what they should have learned in kindergarten….have good manners. Yes, I realize manners don’t count in sports…however, that is what they are being “ruled” to do.

good grief.

    gottarideduc in reply to herm2416. | September 16, 2013 at 8:58 am

    If it were just about good manners, why the State’s involvement? The State teaching our kids what’s good manners? Yeah, that’s the way to do it! State to the rescue!!

Officials are carrying laminated cards in their pockets…

Is “crazy ass cracka” on the card?

Why do I get the feeling enforcment of this decree will be a one-way street? Do you think a white ref will have the nerve to call out a black player?


    Better question is this: Will a white ref have the nerve to call out a black player from a WHOLE TEAM of black players?

    Or will they have to lay off the white refs in favor of black refs? Cuz, y’know, that’s not racist at all!

Racial, sexual and scatological taunting is fairly one-sided where I live. It is the language of idiots and illiterates. A certain subset of players would be reduced to complete silence is this rule were enforced. It won’t work in New Jersey either.

Place a recording devise near all athletes and coaches, NSA could do it. Anybody who utters un-PC comments gets sent to a reeducation camp in the hinterlands of Alaska.

And the current term is “peckerwoods” or “woods” for short.

Coming next year: quotas to achieve the proper diversity of offendees of the new speech code.

Finally – recognition of the decadent culture that has brought us to such unsportsmanlike behavior. The idea that such trash talk, vulgarity and foul language was permissible has threaded its way through the entire culture.

The Left’s efforts to destroy the concept of a moral compass in society has brought us to this. Interesting how political correctness was used to keep us from speaking out against such language and behavior, and now, maybe, sanity will prevail.

    The left has coddled and lowered the expectations of behavior, particularly in regards to minorities, the “poor”, and politicians to where we now have an entire culture that embraces and glorifies the foulest language and crudest behavior. The same left that excuses and loves Miley Cyrus’ performance at the VMA’s, includes bathroom jokes in every program including cartoons,now wants to regulate the exact same behavior and speech…only it’s during a game that in reality, the left loathes.

    What an excuse to add yet another idiot rule in an attempt to discourage and slowly eliminate football programs in high schools. Remember the left thinks long term. Their ultimate goal is to get rid of football(and all sports eventually). This is just another well placed arrow toward that direction with the caveat as “its for the children”.

Right idea, wrong method. Rather than restrict freedom of speech, work quietly, behind the scenes, with parents and coaches to clean up the onfield language by choice rather than by dictat. You know, like they used to do for the past dozen decades.

I played all sorts of sports – boxing, football, ice hockey – from age 6 to age 22, and it was my own set of family-taught limits reinforced by coaches who would punish you at the next practice that kept me from the uglier trash talk.

This is a microcosm of the centralized government model of control of the smallest of things by the highest authority.

    Problem is – a lot of those kids are hearing that very language from birth – from their idiot parents! I am so sick of the “F” word, I could cry.

      F* that crying S* !

      Henry Hawkins in reply to JoAnne. | September 16, 2013 at 1:00 pm

      Which is why we work with parents. Obviously we don’t need to work on the parents who are already teaching good manners, language, sportsmanship. Churches, given their many youth sports leagues, could lead the way.

    Lady Penguin in reply to Henry Hawkins. | September 16, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    In an ideal world you’re correct. But in a society which used Political Correctness to suppress moral values, virtues…it didn’t work or we would not have arrived at this point. Every excuse under the sun has been offered to keep anyone from interfering with foul and vulgar words and behaviors.

    Ironically, the so-called “blue laws” of old-fashioned morality have now been supplanted by the anything goes permissiveness of a morally rudderless society.

“There will be no tolerance for negative statements or actions between opposing players or coaches.”

How about ‘I wanna kiss you on the lips’ instead of ‘we’re gonna beat your ass’ ? Then the officials can try to break up the fight that ensues ….

What if a black guy says ‘ ‘I’m gonna get you, N*****’ to another black guy at the line of scrimmage ?’

Five yard penalty for ‘your mamma’ jokes ?

Maybe instead of tackling practice, they should spend their time knitting little things to give to the other team before the game ?

“…the New Jersey Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act, which prohibits harassment, intimidation and bullying on school property or at school sponsored functions”

And that applies to trash talk between teams ???? Really ?

What NJ fag came up with these “efing” rules?

Sorry about that: meant to ask if it was former Governor McGreevy, who, by the way, is still waiting for the State of NJ to name a rest stop after him.

So, no more remarks about “acting stupidly”; no more remarks about “bitter clingers”; no more demands “to sit down and shut up”; no more rewarding union corporations and other special interests for political support; no more IRS intimidation; no more NSA spying; no more DOJ selective justice; no more arming drug cartels and terrorist “rebels”; no more redistributive change; no more unprovoked attacks of sovereign nations; no more… Have they cleared this with the president?

2nd Ammendment Mother | September 16, 2013 at 11:46 am

“But drop the “N-word” and you’re not only finished for that game and the next, but referees must report the infraction to the state’s governing body for high school athletics, which then passes the player’s name and the violation on to the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights in the Attorney General’s Office.”

Remember the good old days when we all grew up and found out that in spite of what your teachers and principals led you to believe, there wasn’t really a Permanent Record of your youthful stupidity that would haunt you your entire life. Once you graduated and left home you had the opportunity to become the adult you wanted to be, not what everyone you grew up with thought you should be. (In fact, once you graduated, your school files most likely made their way to a storage closet in the basement of the high school gym – that’s where mine was until I liberated it one night with the help of some friends.)

Well….. we’re slowly and surely moving into an era where your Permanent Record really is Permanent. Combine it in with the NSA data mining and federalization of your electronic medical records and we’re all just criminals waiting to be prosecuted for something.

Welcome to liberal sports.

“Ref ! He OFFENDED me !” *tears in eyes*

This is a laughingstock.

    Archer in reply to TB. | September 16, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    It’s not new. It’s been happening soccer (and to some extent, basketball) for years. One player *brushes* an opposing player, and the latter falls over, clutching his/her “injured” appendage and feigning excruciating pain … which is miraculously and instantly cured by a yellow or red card on the “offending” player and/or a penalty kick (or a couple free throws).

    If it were really a problem, it wouldn’t take TWO technical fouls to be ejected from a basketball game. Instead, they get one “freebie,” which I’ve seen creative coaches use tactically to boost team morale; chewing out the refs for bad calls shows his players that he KNOWS they’re bad calls and that he’s willing to stick up for them even it he earns a foul himself.

    Still, I agree with your sentiment: It IS a laughingstock.

Banning words is ridiculous. Pretty soon, you won’t have a dictionary.

It’s far better to civilize people into being considerate. Teach good manners, civility, and decorum. Not Democrat-type civility but genuine courtesy.

What if it just *Sounds* like the F-word, but is actually the PH-word?

and Chris Christie wants to be president?

NC Mountain Girl | September 16, 2013 at 5:03 pm

This is rather funny because the most effective trash talkers don’t use the obvious words. They also back it up with great play.

With Facebook and Twitter accounts it is easier today to emulate NFL HOF tackle John Randle. Randle would research arcane facts about players on the other team and mix them in with plain crazy talk. He actually forced QBs to call time out because the 0-line would talk so much trash back to Randle they weren’t paying attention to the snap count! Bret Favre, no slouch at trash talk himself, hated facing Randle.

Michael Jordon was also a highly effective trash talker. They say he drove opponents nuts with subtle displays of disrespect, such as counting backwards from 40 as he sunk bucket after bucket.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to NC Mountain Girl. | September 17, 2013 at 12:14 am

    The best trash talkers are smart with a wealth of information and vocabulary at their services. The people who use obvious language demonstrate a paucity of vocabulary. One of the best trash talkers was Martin Luther.

We weren’t allowed too much bad language up through the junior level of ice hockey (16-20), but if/when you made a college team, we were pretty much left to our own rules. I went from juniors to college at age 18. Like NC Mountain Girl says above, using the common pejoratives and cuss words didn’t work well – players were well used to that. Effective trash talking is an art form.

There was a certain goalie at Mich State who could handle anything except allusions to his mother’s marital fidelity, plus another at Grand Valley State whose last name sounded vaguely north European. For two periods, during every break in play in his end, I’d ask him, “Gustafson….is that Swiss?”, which he’d deny, but I’d keep asking (“That’s Swiss, right?” after every goal). In the third period he caught on I was referencing Swiss cheese, implying he was just as full of holes, and it bothered him (we won 7-2). The main goal is to get opposing players focused on the wrong thing, and/or get them to commit a foul or penalty. All successful trash talk is a matter of thus ‘psyching out’ the opponent.

    NC Mountain Girl in reply to Henry Hawkins. | September 16, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    My father was a Pac 10 lineman whose parents had dubbed him with a first name than sounds quite feminine to American ears. He played his high school ball against Bronko Nagurski and learned early about ploys to draw him offside.

More social Marxist speech control. Implementation of this policy will be a fiasco in every state that emulates NJ.

I grew up in a coal mining area of Southwest Virginia. Football, baseball, basketball ruled, with a nod to wrestling due to all the skinny Scots Irish products of generations of miners and hillside farmers. But under the guidance of a remarkable and talented coach and genius motivator, the tennis- yup, tennis- team I joined compiled an amazing record of wins including two state titles, three region titles and four district titles just in the time I was there. This coach used hard work and absolute discipline to achieve this record: we ran a mile for every game lost in district matches, a mile for every minute late to practice, multiple miles for in-school detention, and so on. Profanity during a match was grounds for immediate default, and I saw this happen in key competitions. This is how we rebuild society, written small. I credit this coach and his leadership for being a part of any success I have. I give zero credit to government intervention for anything I have achieved, and I know most or all of my former teammates would concur.