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New Jersey Says No More Trash Talking in High School Sports

Trash Talking
Doug Pensinger, Getty Images

Trash talking is as much a part of sports as the use of a ball for scoring purposes, but the State of New Jersey has implemented a ‘trash talk ban’ for high school sports that includes more than 400 schools in the state. Trash talking in New Jersey is considered a form of bullying and the athletic teams will be held to the same anti-bullying laws currently in effect in the schools the team s represent. Trash talking generally involves language toward another person about race, gender,ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and religion and will no longer be tolerated at least in New Jersey and it shouldn’t…for that I applaud their effort.

Policing this ban will be the job of the referees and officials in the various sports who may assess immediate penalties for any violations. Depending on the severity of the incident or the number of incidents, a player could be suspended from future games and possibly charged with civil rights violations….whoa!

I think taking action against on-field bullies who are nothing but classless jerks is great, but where will the lines be drawn to separate trash talking from just normal competitive exchanges between players. Sounds like another one of those infamous gray areas that could make enforcement of the rules difficult, if not impossible.

Bullying in schools is a huge problem and clearly something needs to be done, but is this really the answer? Making derogatory remarks at someone that cross a line is one thing, but a little spirited bragging about your team’s prowess is fine and a part of the game.

I like the idea, I’m just not sure how it can be effectively enforced, if at all. Muhammad Ali was probably the greatest trash talker ever, but Ali’s remarks were more about self promotion than tearing down the character of an opponent. Ali generally knew where the line was and rarely crossed it, but he did put a toe over that line occasionally to be sure. What do you think?

See the trash talk master himself, Muhammad Ali below.

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