Derrick Mason is a former Baltimore Raven wide receiver from 2005 through 2010 and all-time franchise leader in receiving yards.
He joined Steve & Zinno to talk about what he saw with certain prospects at the combine.
Mason gave his thoughts on how Texas A & M wide receiver Mike Evans will transfer to the NFL early, but that he’ll get figured out by defenses as the years go on. Derrick Mason was critical of Evans’ coaches from college for not teaching him the intricacies of route running and that Evans is way behind in that department.
The guys talked about Jadeveon Clowney. Mason said that he may be the most athletic defensive guy he’s seen in the draft since Jevon Kearse was drafted by the Titans. The physical attributes and speed are very comparable, if Clowney isn’t bigger and a tad bit faster.
The guys then talked about a big hot button issue around the NFL right now — The N-Word in the NFL.
Michael Wilbon talked about the situation on “Pardon the Interruption.” Wilbon is a former columnist and sports writer for the Washington Post who currently works as a commentator for ESPN. He is also an African-American male. He said that he has a big problem with the league penalizing the use of the N-Word. The NFL is considering use of that particular word in the field of play would result in a 15-yard personal foul. The reason Wilbon has a problem with the rule is because it is a league with no black owners and a white commissioner. He doesn’t like the idea that a bunch of middle-aged white men are telling black athletes that “YOU can’t use the word in the field of play or WE are going to penalize you.”
Steve asked Derrick Mason what his thoughts were on Wilbon’s statement. Mason said he doesn’t think that the rule would stop the use of the word.
“You are not going to remove the word and to give someone a 15-yard penalty because they are saying the word…I think that’s outlandish,” he said.
Mason said in the heat of the moment or when players get “heated” they aren’t really thinking about what they’re saying.
“Guys are not thinking ‘what I shouldn’t or what I should say,’ guys…the first thing that comes up, comes out.”
Mason said that he’s said some things to refs when he’s been heated and then gone back and apologized. He said the refs understand that. He said that to penalize a word is taking it a little bit too far.
“I never heard white guys say it to black guys. I didn’t hear it as much as what people think on the field. The only time I heard it is when someone really got heated.
He personally doesn’t use the word and doesn’t like it because he doesn’t like being called it himself. He did say he uses replacement words.
“I don’t like the word. I use the word ‘Negro’ a lot. I don’t use the other word because…for me it’s hard for that word to come out because I know I wouldn’t want anybody else, especially a white person, I wouldn’t want a white person saying it to me. A guy said it to me when I was younger, I didn’t like it. It made me feel a certain way.
“After my mid 20s I just stopped saying the word period. I started saying ‘Negro’ or a lot of friends of mine say ‘Ninja’ instead of this other stuff. You always find other words to say rather than that. But the ‘N Word,’ to blatantly just say it or use it in casual conversation, I don’t do it.”
Zinno rebutted Mason’s logic about the heat of the moment with the fact that many 15-yard penalties are caused by someone being upset. An example would be slapping another guy upside the helmet. Mason said there is a difference between physically putting your hands on someone and saying a word. That doesn’t warrant a 15-yard flag. Many words become habit or second nature for players and many may not even know they’re using it.
“When you are talking about words, that’s something different. If I physically go slap somebody upside the head I’m physically hurting them…or bumping the ref on purpose, yes you can throw a 15-yard flag for that. But not for words.
“It’s not going to end I tell you that right now, as much as we all want it to end, the word is not going to end.”
Mason also gave his thoughts on the Ray Rice story. He said he’s disappointed in Rice for being in the position and it’s unfortunate.