New Jersey Bans Trash-Talking In High School Athletics

Kevin Garnett, Ben Gordon

In conjunction with the state’s Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act New Jersey has implemented a rule that bans trash talking among all high school athletes.

The Courier-Post Reports:

Beginning this fall, the NJSIAA, which sets rules and regulations governing high school athletics, will enforce new rules that will make it clear that harassing conduct related to race, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, or religion is unsportsmanlike and will not be tolerated at high school events.

The new rules — which apply to all public, parochial, and private school members of the NJSIAA — also will require officials to report this conduct to the NJSIAA, which may investigate the incident and will, in turn, notify the state. If such comments are heard, officials can immediately assess penalties. Coaches will be responsible to remind their players about this policy.

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association will work with the NJ District Attorney’s office to enforce the new ban. According to the sportsmanship rules any athlete or coach that caught talking trash before, during or after a game and cited will be disqualified from participating in the next two games, or the next game for football. The incident will also be reported to the NJ Division on Civil Rights which may further investigate.

It will be interesting to see how officials enforce this new rule. Although I agree that comments based on race, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, or religion are totally inappropriate and should not be tolerated, I don’t see the harm in a little trash talk between competitors. For most athletes it’s just part of the game. A young Kevin Garnett would never see the floor if he had to adhere to this.