After Philadelphia Eagles player Riley Cooper’s threat to “fight every n*gger” at a country music concert surfaced on the web, the NFL player took to Twitter to apologize for using the slur, saying he was “so ashamed and disgusted” with himself. While most users were not having it, choosing instead to rake Cooper over the coals with the hashtag #RileyCooperWillFight, ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith took a different route: to blame Black folks for Cooper’s “disgraceful” remarks.

Though Smith said he was “incredibly shocked and disappointed” by Cooper’s drunken rant, the sport’s commentator gave the player props for exhibiting “tremendous attrition” and being “apologetic” for using the divisive term.  Smith went on to ask others to take Cooper at his word rather than assume the player uses the n-word all of the time (despite the ease with which it rolled from his lips).

Most would decry Cooper’s n-word bomb, but Smith took his comments a bit further, choosing to place some of the blame squarely on the shoulders of Black folks.

Smith explained: “To ask me what I think about it, all it does is take me back and force me to look at our community and demand that we stand up and be intellectually honest about this. There are many situations in the world of sports where we go into the locker room, not only do we hear the music blaring, but we see professional athletes echoing these sentiments. Most of us in the Black community would be flagrant hypocrites if we try to deny that we used that word ourselves.”

He surmised:

“The level of comfort that it seemed Riley Cooper had in articulating those words out of his mouth, what level of responsibility do we harbor considering the fact that it’s something we use ad nauseam in the presence of people outside of our community?”

So let me get this straight. Black folks must now harbor responsibility for every White person who “slips” and says the n-word because we may or may not use it in our community, or because they may have heard it in rap song? Word?!

Here’s the thing: If every Black person on the planet stopped using the n-word today, racists would still use the word. Why? Because they want to.

They are not influenced by Black folks who use the word as a term of endearment. They are not combing hip hop lyrics to learn how to use the word in a non-offensive way. They use the word because of it’s painful history (one that we, Black folks, did not create), and because it stings.

So while I come from the Oprah Winfrey School of opinion on the n-word, I will not condone anyone trying place the blame for a White person’s use of the n-word at our feet.

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  • Carter

    Man y’all are making me sick….. People would have a legitimate reason to get mad at Riley Cooper if we black people weren’t always saying a word that any of our ancestors would kill us for saying, they fought to get rid of it, but it just came back through ourselves….It’s not our fault Riley said it, because he was not saying it in context of a rap song…He was using it racially…..But there is no possible way people can justify telling a white 13 year old not say the n word and a 13 yr old black kid he can…Neither one has done anything which merits him being able to say it…. It’s offensive to people who have any common sense, whether black or white….You should not use a word which was used to hurt your own people for hundreds of years, idc what bullshit excuse us black people make to say the n word…But it should not be used at all…. If we’re gonna complain about racism and trying to get further and equal in society we can start by trashing this word, instead of trying to find ways to keep it just for ourselves…. IF U DO PEOPLE WILL ALWAYS SAY IT AND FEEL THAT IT IS NOT RACIST

  • Lady Tee

    Dido with everything Stephen A Smith said. And to the Carter comment of context..We don’t get to choose what “context” we use the N-Word. REALLY! It is wrong on every and all levels no matter who uses it particularly Black Folks! We should be held accountable even more so. Mr. Smith has a valid point and I agree. I get sick of hearing it in rap music, in the store, in the street, everywhere!!!! Black Folks (we) need to check check ourselves!!! It’s not we use it is okay and white folks use it Oh we have a problem. Uh! YOU Wonder Why ? Speak the truth Stephen A Smith. Agreed!