BY JORDAN CRAVENS
During a recent media interview, Ravens’ quarterback Joe Flacco used a painful word when describing his reaction to next year’s Super Bowl being in a cold weather location. He called it “retarded,” which sent a collective cringe across the country.
And cringe they should. Retarded is a discriminatory word and one he should not have used.
As soon as the word left his mouth, Flacco immediately realized he should not have said it and corrected himself.
He later issued a statement to the media apologizing for his use of the word.
Here is the statement he made, according to USA Today:
“Obviously, it was a bad choice of words. I wish I hadn’t said it. I have a great relationship with
Special Olympics back in Baltimore and have had one for many years. I didn’t mean to offend anybody, but I definitely apologize for it.”
I commend Flacco for knowing he was in the wrong. He began apologizing before he finished his sentence. He then took it another step by addressing the word with a statement to the media within 24 hours.
Interestingly, however, Flacco did not utilize social media to get his apology out.
According to his official Twitter page, his last tweet, as of late Wednesday, was to announce a gummy bear endorsement deal.
Given the relevance of social media and its ability to get the message out of multitudes, why didn’t he?
One might argue Flacco was busy with interviews, practice and preparing for Sunday’s big game. However, I am sure Flacco has an agent or public relations officer who could have crafted a tweet for him.
Furthermore, the fact that “retarded” rolled off Flacco’s tongue on a national media stage says something about where we stand as a society.
Retarded is still common rhetoric in our society. Discriminatory words like the “R-word” or the “F-word” or the “N-word” are still used everyday and signal that we, as a society, have more work to do.
I don’t doubt Flacco’s sincerity with his apology, but I also hope young people who watched him say the word don’t make it part of their vocabulary.