NJ Bans Trash-Talking in High School Sports

New Jersey high school athletes who talk trash could find their teams penalized and themselves under investigation by the state Civil Rights Division.

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association and the state Attorney General's Office announced the new policy on Wednesday in an effort to bring athletic events into line with the state's anti-bullying law for schools.

According to the policy, sports participants could be in trouble if they make harassing statements related to gender, race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or religion. The new rules, which take effect in the fall, apply to athletes and coaches at the nearly 400 public, private and parochial high schools that belong to the NJSIAA.

Current rules stipulate that athletes or coaches cited by the NJSIAA before, during or after a school athletic event for unsportsmanlike and verbal or physical misconduct will be disqualified from at least the next game. The new policy requires the NJSIAA to report discriminatory conduct to the state attorney general.

Coaches will be responsible for reminding players about the trash-talking policy.

Referees would also be required to report incidents for possible further investigation. If discriminatory remarks are heard, they can assess immediate penalties.

The sports policy goes into place this fall.

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