Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton Fined $11K for Racial Slur During Broncos-Jets Game

With all the problems afflicting the NFL right now, one of the least important involves coarse language among players on the field -- including the term "nigga," usually sanitized as the N-word. Yet the league continues to punish players for the word's use -- including, presumably, Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton, who's been hit with an $11,025 fine for allegedly vocalizing a racial slur during this past weekend's game against the New York Jets.

See also: Two Broncos Tackle Ray Rice Controversy on Twitter, Dozens Don't

Here's a Vine of Knighton before the Jets game:

As he warmed up, Knighton doubtless had no clue he'd be dragged into the debate over the league's new N-word rule, which has been raging for months. Consider a March item in which Tennessee cornerback Jason McCourty pointed out (as if he needed to) that the offensiveness of the term, or lack thereof, varies due to usage and situation.

"It's a common word in so many players' everyday lives," Jason McCourty told writer Peter King. "Among African-American players and people, it's used among friends all the time. It seems like a bit much for the NFL to try to get rid of it. It's a pretty common word in the locker room, like 'man,' 'bro,' 'nigga.' But once a white person says it, it's a derogatory term."

Predictably, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman was even stronger in his pronouncements about what was then merely a proposal. "It's an atrocious idea," he said. "It's almost racist, to me."

Nonetheless, the NFL went ahead with the rule, and a few weeks back, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who'll face Peyton Manning and the Broncos on Sunday, was fined for N-word usage. He appealed, claiming the word didn't actually pass his lips, and the NFL balked slightly, reducing the sum by half -- a decision that still frustrates Kaepernick, although he's said he won't appeal again.

ESPN reports that Knighton is unlikely to appeal his fine, as well. But in punishing him for such a dubious offense, the league is casting bogus aspersions on one of the Broncos' most thoughtful and socially responsible players. As we noted in a September post, he was among only two Denver players (the other was cornerback Chris Harris) to publicly weigh in on the Ray Rice domestic-violence issue after the release of a video showing the ex-Baltimore running back punching out his fiancee. Here are four tweets on the subject:

Earlier this week, Knighton tweeted about Columbus Day, another controversial topic -- and one that deals with issues of race. He wrote:

Thus far, Knighton hasn't used Twitter to share his thoughts about what exactly he said to get fined or what he thinks of the rule -- but we'd love it if he did. We have a feeling he sack this ludicrous edict for a considerable loss.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts