In the least surprising news of the day, Chicago Bears defensive end Lamarr Houston was penalized on Monday for using inappropriate language. I say it is not surprising because given what I think about how the world works, it only made sense for Houston to be the second person penalized for this.
After the game, Houston was asked about the penalty, and he claims all he said was "back up". In that same discussion, he also changed his tune on Colin Kaepernick. He said that Kap swore at him, and did in fact use the n-word. A reporter asked if Houston was insulted, and he said he was not, stating it was more of a "cultural thing."
And of course, there's the rub with all this. The NFL announced over the offseason that inappropriate language would be something the referees would emphasize, particularly slurs. When you get to legislating language in the heat of a football game, things are getting a little dicey. This is particularly the case with the n-word in a league where the majority of players are African-American, and the people running the league are primarily white. Houston's comment that it was a "cultural thing" emphasizes just how complicated it is to legislate around certain words.
It is worth noting that having a bright line rule on a given word does make the rule a bit more objective for the refs. However, it strikes me as a little crazy that the league is trying to penalize for language in the middle of a football game. Considering they also spent this offseason focusing on things like post-touchdown dunks, while covering up the handling of Ray Rice's domestic violence, and I suppose it is not surprising.
This is a league that uses window-dressing instead of finding real solutions. They are more concerned about appearances and when they try and show they are making social change, they make a mess of everything. It's almost like they should just ignore all of this and just go gladiator style with it. Who knows, because the NFL sure doesn't.