The Arc Reacts to Baltimore Ravens Quarterback Using R-Word in Super Bowl Press Conference

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Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who will play in the Super Bowl this Sunday, used the “r-word” in a press conference last night. In response to a question unrelated to people with disabilities, Flacco used the offensive term and followed by acknowledging that he shouldn’t use the word.

After Super Bowl XLVII is in the history books, The Arc would welcome Mr. Flacco in the national dialogue about why this word is offensive to people with disabilities and what fans can do to help us remove the word from our society.

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who will play in the Super Bowl this Sunday, used the “r-word” in a press conference last night. In response to a question unrelated to people with disabilities, Flacco used the offensive term and followed by acknowledging that he shouldn’t use the word. While The Arc appreciates Mr. Flacco’s quick acknowledgment of his mistake, The Arc invites him to get involved in the national dialogue on why this language is offensive and provide leadership on this issue after the Super Bowl.

“All eyes are on the players competing in this weekend’s Super Bowl, and unfortunately, while under this media microscope, Joe Flacco used a hurtful word to people with disabilities. After Super Bowl XLVII is in the history books, The Arc would welcome Mr. Flacco in the national dialogue about why this word is offensive to people with disabilities and what fans can do to help us remove the word from our society,” said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc.

The Arc is a part of the “Spread the Word to End the Word” campaign along with other organizations to raise awareness of the effects of the “r-word”. The Arc has also been involved in efforts to remove the word from federal health, education and labor statutes, supporting Rosa’s Law in 2010. And just this week, the Social Security Administration announced its intent to remove the word from its work.

The Arc advocates for and serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses. The Arc has a network of over 700 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with I/DD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.

Editor’s Note: The Arc is not an acronym; always refer to us as The Arc, not The ARC and never ARC. The Arc should be considered as a title or a phrase.

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Kristen McKiernan
The Arc of the United States
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Sarah Bal
The Arc of the United States
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