There is a controversy going on in the National Football League over the use of a racial slur repeatedly shouted by a player that was caught on a cellphone and has since gone viral on social media. The player was drunk at a concert and he used the slur on a guard who was just doing his job. Most of the teammates of this player would have found the slur extremely offensive, too.
The controversy has reached late-night sports radio. One caller to the show wanted to know what all the fuss was about. It was just a word.
The talk-show host pointed out that words do have consequences. That’s why a person can be arrested for shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater when there is no fire.
From the history books on World War II, we read of how the words of Winston Churchill inspired the British people to keep fighting even when their situation appeared to be hopeless.
The Gettysburg Address given by then President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 was just a bunch of words, too. We still study those words.
My point is that words, whether spoken or written, are important. They do have consequences. This is something every writer instinctively understands.
Oh, the football player in question has been excused from all team activities until further notice. That in itself should prove the awesome power of words.
This is the Old Soldier reporting from Pittsburgh.
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