Shelby: For Serena Williams, it is a grunt. For Mohammad Ali, it was a wink. And for Michael Jordan,… Well, he was the king of tough talk. Taunting opponents has helped some of the greatest athletes in history get pumped up. But are some players taking the trash talk too far? Scott Evans has the story.
Teen: A girl told me that she was going to send me to the hospital.
Teen: My friend actually got called (expletive).
Teen: Girls have called me (expletive) or (expletive).
Scott: But this season, these Robbinsville High School athletes are sure to notice a change. That is because now, trash talking like that will be banned.
Steven Timko: As a state, I feel very proud that this is a position that we are taking.
Scott: I sat down with Steven Timko, the executive director of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association and talked about the new ban and, specifically, what type of language would raise a red flag.
Okay. So, Steve, I have got some examples of things I have heard at games that I want you to tell me if they are passable or not. One I heard actually recently was, ‘I’m on fire! I’m on fire!’
Scott: My mama can shoot better than that!
Timko: We know that we are not going to be able to stop trash talking per se, but there comes a point when they start talking about race, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference. That crosses the line.
Scott: The competition on courts and fields just like this one all over the state of New Jersey can often become intense, and so can the language. With this new ban, the statewide athletic association is trying to curb those blatantly disrespectful exchanges.
Timko: On the playing field, it’s going to be a disqualification. Thrown out the game, then they sit, in football, for the next game. If it’s one of our other events, they’ll sit the next two out. That happens the second time, then they’ll sit four events.
Scott: And if any school gets a third strike, well, they are out of the state competition. The athletic association says that goes for people in the stands as well.
Jason Armstrong, the men’s soccer coach for the Robbinsville Ravens, supports the ban, but he worries that putting these regulations in the hands of the state association could lead to some fumbled calls.
Jason Armstrong: I think during the chaos of the game, a lot of things go missed or things get misinterpreted. And I’ve seen that happen. I’ve experienced that. And so, like a kid may or may not have said something, and a ref may hear something and now it’s a bit subjective. And I think that may be a problem.
Teen: I don’t think it’s always to the point where it needs to be reported because that’s like at that point, you are just getting babied. And people do need to be tough.
Scott: But Timko says that, for the most part, New Jersey sports don’t have a problem. But a couple of reported incidents last year, where racial slurs were used, resulted in the creation of the trash talk ban.
Timko: We are hoping that we can contain it and hopefully eliminate it in the long run.
Scott: Scott Evans, Channel One News.
Shelby: Now we want to know what you think. Should trash talking be banned from school sporting events? Weigh in over at Channelone.com and we will read some of your responses on the show.