Thinkofone's Blog

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The Gym, Football, and the “N” word in the NFL


I just discovered something that I’ve always known, but never really given it a second thought.  It’s called “Gym language”. This language could be in stark contrast to what some in the NFL have an issue with the banning of the use of the “N” word on the football field. Wow, a whole 15 yard penalty. A mire pittance for a word that once described a slave, and later to denigrate someone.   Now, don’t get me wrong, gym language does not necessarily contain the “N” word, but it can. The other day, while working out, I listened around the gym, and heard all of the familiar vernacular I’ve been accustom to over the years, and even use it when I’m working out. Now if it’s a gym that have the usual familiar characters, you know some people like to  talk more than others, some are loud and boisterous,  others are quite and deliberate, and still others use it as a partial social outlet while working out. The older crowd talk and are happy to see each other. Some people  have their own crew and “push” each other while working out. Some have their own trainers.  Others are deliberate, running hard on the cycle, StairMaster, elliptical, or treadmill. And then there is myself.

When I go to the gym, I’m all business. No phone, nothing to listen to, I just have my water bottle, workout gloves, sometimes my jump rope, and now my boxing gloves. I understand the use of music, good motivating things to listen to, to keep a rhythm to while working out, or, listen to a book. But I’m a little old school when it comes to working out.  In this age, I see people checking their phones, in conversation, and doing other things on their phone. My question to that is, why do that at the gym? The gym should be hallowed ground, some place to do what you want to do ( working out ) without anyone or anything disturbing you. If someone calls or text messages you, you’ll get it after you come out of the gym. But getting back to the language of the gym, here are some of the gym language I hear or even say to myself while working out:

Gimme  some baby – Is said in the middle of someone workout out hard, letting them know they are using the right form and working hard.

Oh Yea – Same as “Gimme Some baby”…

Yep, Yep, Yep! – Same as “Oh Yea”…

Is that all you got? – You’re fading, loosing form and may not make the next rep.

You had some more – You put the bar back on the rack when you could have done another set.

Oh Shit – Could mean several things, I usually say this after a very tough rep, especially during super-sets.

That’s it – Could not do another rep.

You got another one – You repped strong and have another one.

You got this – Usually said on a very hard rep, trying to get someone to push through their rep.

I got it – Meaning don’t touch the bar or dumbbells, I’m pushing through the rep myself.

You’re faking baby – You’re acting like you can’t get through the rep without assistance.

Bitch! – Tough rep, usually said on the last set or rep.

Push it!- Push through the rep.

Now, I’m only scratching the surface. There are a whole lot more things said, some that are funny, some that try to motivate, some that may be offensive. Here is what I heard the other day that I usually wouldn’t bat an eye at but I was listening to get the perspective of an onlooker. There was a guy who was leg pressing quite a bit, loading up the leg press machine to its maximum, close to what I would say was 600lbs. He had a guy standing next to the machine, assisting him on the  push-off so he could get a few reps. Now, another regular, who is also a trainer, walked by, stopped and made an observation. Here is the dialog:

Trainer:  Hey, who’s getting the workout here, the guy who is pushing up the weights?

Presser: “What pigmy albino Mutha F#$ker is talkin’ sh#$t in my workout”?

Trainer: “Look dog, I’m just sayin’ it looks like you’re relaxing while the guy is pushing up the weight!”

Presser: “Now I don’t get up in you’re wimpy a$$, watered down Jane Fonda workout bullsh#$t, don’t get up in mine,  I’m a real man you dig?”

Trainer: “OK dude, I love you too”…

Now after the set, the two shook hands hugged and laughed at each other. Now many people would have probably thought their language was vulgar, and inappropriate, but they were adding some humor to some very serious leg pressing going on there. I understood it, and to give you translation, the trainer was short and light-skinned while the presser was more of a dark-skinned brutha. To some it may offend, but it was all in fun, their language, which leads me to the “N” word and the NFL. If you have not heard, the NFL is going to ban the use of the “N” word on the field, and will be a 15 yard penalty if someone is flagged for using it.

Now, I don’t use the “N” word, but I also heard it used at the gym the other day. It was used between two black guys and a white guy, which of course, the black guy used the word. Here is how he used it:

“Ni99a, now that is a bitch” – Translation, after a hard set that he barely got all the reps out, it was going to be tough to duplicate what he just did.

Now I was taken back for a minute, seeing that he was working out with a white guy, but, it’s a different era, at least to some. I don’t use the word, and, I have never used it in mixed company. The reason? Self respect. How do I expect others, especially those of the other persuasion to respect me if I don’t respect myself? If I use it within earshot of them, how could they have respect of anyone of my race if I’m willing to disrespect those of my own color?  As a coach, I’ve even admonished black kids for using it in mixed company. This “new” generation does not see it that way. Many rappers, whose claim to fame was of being a former street dealer to rapper ( to which most of them weren’t ), use the name as a badge of honor, and also as ownership. Also there is a large cadre of comedians who also use the word, and have used it in front of thousands who come to see them. This has also passed down to the football players, which many have now embraced it, using it on the field, off the field, in their cars, house, and wherever else they see fit.

Snoop Dogg    katt-williams

Now before I speak to what the issue is in the NFL, I have to give Snoop Dogg some credit. He’s market savvy. During the 90’s, when caught up in the east coast, west coast competition over whose rap was better, which culminated in the deaths of Biggy and Tupac, he morphed himself from a gun-toting cop killing rapper to a pimp/player. Wisdom came with age, along making a lot of money, he reinvented himself instead of becoming irrelevant, or at worse, dead. He has now done it again, by becoming somewhat spiritual, renaming himself Snoop Lion ( Hmmm, a similar awakening to Malcolm X, from thief, to inmate, to spiritual leader ), and adopting the ways of the Rastafarian. Funny how he picked a way of life that has permeated through his, which is the smoking of Marijuana…anyway. Now Katt Williams is a little of a paradox. Uses the N-word freely during his comic standup, and, actually defends the use of it in a eloquent way. Father of 8 children, but 7 are adopted, to which I have to commend his attempt to help those who are in need. Now, the NAACP buried the word, So why is it still used, and why is the NFL banning it?


The black NFL players’ answer back to this by saying ban all use of explicit language, to which is impossible. Even while coaching football, I hardly ever curse, but I do see cursing as part of the game. Every team should have a “shit talker”, one who goes around talking “shit” to everyone  during the week to his teammates, and during the game to the opposing team. But even the “shit talker” shouldn’t use the “N” word. I know, it’s starting to sound a little complicated.

Frankly, I though we killed or buried the “N” word, and I was assuming that there would be no need for a penalty for it. But, unfortunately, that’s not the case. It’s embedded in our society. It’s still going to be used in the locker room, and other places NFL players will go. White, black, Hispanic, and other cultures use it, which goes beyond it’s original despicable description of someone. The Gennie was let out of the bottle. Back in the days when black humor was intended for only black audiences, it was then taken out of the back rooms of comedy, and put into mainstream by this great comedian, who, in the same vein as Snoop Dogg/Lion, had a revelation, after he took a trip to Africa.

In “Pryor Convictions,” Pryor said that he left Africa “regretting ever having uttered the word ‘ni99er’ on a stage or off it. It was a wretched word. Its connotations weren’t funny, even when people laughed.

So, I’m not saying to ban it or to use it. I’m just putting out information. After that, you decide….


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This entry was posted on March 16, 2014 by in Inner thoughts, Sports and tagged , , , .
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