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Bryan Cox Blasts 'Racist' NFL

Bryan Cox lashed out at the NFL again for being a racist league after he was fined $10,000 Wednesday for unnecessary roughness.

The New York Jets linebacker, who has been fined $146,000 in his career and filed two lawsuits against the league, drew the fine for hits Sunday against Steve McNair and Eddie George of Tennessee. Cox, who is black, criticized the NFL for having a "slave Negro, house Negro mentality."

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    Forum: Is the fine justified?

  • "Because if you believe this league is a racist league, which I do," Cox said, "the good-ol'-boy network is alive and kicking. How many black owners are in this league? How many black coaches? How many coaches in this league that proved they can't win anywhere, but they keep resurfacing as head coaches?"

    "Also, the thing with this league being over 70 percent black, and within the league office all the black people that are in any position of authority are always pitted against the players in the league," added Cox, who played and behaved well since joining the Jets in August as a free agent.

    "I feel like that's unfortunate and I don't like that."

    Both Gene Washington, who is responsible for fines, and Harold Henderson, the NFL's labor relations director, are black.

    "Why do we always have to be pitted against each other?" Cox asked. "I do have a problem with that, because every time we have to be subject to discipline of some sort, it always has to be against a person of color."

    NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league would have no comment on Cox's racism charges.

    Cox has been fined eight times b the league, including $87,500 in 1996 for directing an obscene gesture at an official. He also has been fined for his role in fights; for unnecessary roughness; for spitting; for criticism of officiating; and for obscene gestures to the crowd.

    In 1994, Cox sued the league for not providing a work environment free of racial harassment. That suit was dropped once the NFL promised to eject fans who were racially abusive at games.

    Bryan Cox
    Bryan Cox levels Steve McNair Sunday, a hit which led to a $10,000 fine from the NFL. (AP)

    In 1997, he sued the league for what he claimed was a vendetta against him. That suit was dismissed this past September.

    Cox's most visible outbreaks came at Buffalo, where he obscenely saluted fans as he walked off the field in 1993 and engaged in a fight with Carwell Gardner in 1995. He also was seen spitting at Bills players and at the crowd during that game.

    He also expressed annoyance at where his fine money goes, hinting again that racism is involved.

    "They've fined me over $200,000 in my career, and they give my money to the Brian Piccolo Cancer Fund, the Vince Lombardi Cancer Research Center, ALS Neuromuscular Research Foundation or the NFL Players Assistance Trust Fund," he said. "Although those are very needy organizations, with the amount of money that I've been fined over the years, I would like to be able to have appointed where that money would have been donated to."

    "I just feel that in my neighborhood (East St. Louis, Ill.), there are a lot of kids that have a need. And with Jackie Joyner trying to build a Boys and Girls Club in my neighborhood, I could have built a wing on that with that money."

    Cox has been a leader and strong contributor to the Jets (7-4), moving from a seldom-used backup in the opener to a starter.

    "I'm trying to have a good season, play as hard as I can, playing as clean as I can, doing all the right things during the course of trying to make plays," he said. "I don't feel they're dirty plays of any sort to get fined again. I was trying to make the best effort that I possibly could to go through '98 without getting a fine, but with five games to go I fell a little short of my goal."

    The latest fines came on two plays late in the second half. On the first, he was attempting to tackle McNair, who slid. Cox's forearm connected with McNair's head.

    On the other, he sent an uppercut toward George in the course of tackling the Oilers running back.

    Asked if he feared further fines for speaking out, Cox said:

    "Then I'll sue them again, because I have the right to say aything I want. They're not my favorite people. They understand that, so I don't have to get up here and tell them what they can do for me. I'm just trying to relax and trying to show a little class. This season has been so good for me that I don't want to backtrack. I don't want to retrace and go back to go down in the pit and want to fight everybody."

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