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Trash Talking Ban Nabs 20 High School Athletes [AUDIO]

Implemented in June, this is the first academic year since a trash talking ban was put into effect on high school athletes in New Jersey.

Should NJ ban trash talking in high school sports?
Flickr User johntrainor

Under the new rules, high school athletes who use taunts, profanity, racial slurs or biased language can be kicked off of their teams. Certain violations can be reported to the State Attorney General’s civil rights office for further action. So far, 20 athletes have been disqualified from play.

“We have gotten reports that officials are reading the new rules at every game and every level. The schools have embraced it,” said Larry White, assistant director at the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association.

“Many schools and athletes believe this is how it should be and how it should’ve been all along. It should never be about talking, but about letting your actions show what you’re about on the field. So far, 20 athletes have been disqualified, some for physical, unsportsmanlike, flagrant behavior but it’s also for any verbal violations. I saw one player disqualified because of profanity and an ethnic slur.”

Because the trash talking ban is new, there is no data to compare it to from previous years, but White believes it’s been effective.

“We never tracked disqualifications in previous years for profanity which included racial, gender, disability, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religious affiliation,” said White. “But I did see a report from a recent scrimmage between an inner city school and a suburban school in which a player actually went to the civil rights office in Newark and explained that everything went well and for the first time, no one heard the racial slurs that they always heard. Officials are reading the new rules before games and they are being heard.”

“Language of this type is not condoned and would never be tolerated in the classroom. Interscholastic sports are an extension of the classroom. So, this is why we’re saying it can’t be tolerated on the fields, the courts, the rinks, the mats, wherever. It’s important to get high school sports back to where it’s playing the sport, not the taunting, not the baiting, not the slurs,” said White.

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