Tony Gonzalez Leads Movement Against Racism in the Falcons' Locker Room

Kevin C. Cox

Fact: When it rains, it's because Tony Gonzalez is thinking of something sad.

The Richie Incognito debacle, no matter how you feel about it, has certainly interfered with the Dolphins' season. Because the media can't help but report controversy, it's always nice when your team isn't dealing with it. And for what it's worth, the Falcons leadership is taking a proactive approach to avoiding race-based controversy.

"That word is filled with hate," Gonzalez said. "I don't like that word at all. When they use it in rap songs and in the locker room ... I always correct them and say, 'Try not to use that word around me.'"

"It will be a hard task, but we all have to put in a collective effort," White said. "It's too much a lot of times. We just have to find ways to fix it. And Tony speaks about it all the time, saying that we don’t need to use it."

To be frank, this is a sensitive subject. I'm a mixed Caucasian-Hispanic, 28-year-old male. I don't use the word, for obvious reasons. But political correctness aside, I'm happy Gonzalez and company are taking this stance. It's productive, for more than one reason.

First, football teams need continuity. They don't need tension of any kind, racial tension included. It's healthy to avoid use of so-called n-word. It just is.

Second, the Falcons, as an organization, pride themselves on their ability to field a high character team. I get that racial epithets are sometimes used by those who've fallen victim to them in order to take back some sense of control, particularly over the words themselves. That said, these are words that hurt, and creating an environment where hurtful words are thrown around at will isn't what Mr. Blank has in mind.

I'll open it open to you now. What are your thoughts? Please, remember, this isn't a political blog. Don't say anything inappropriate, or Dave will smack your momma.

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