Scrabble Tournaments Move Toward Banning Slurs

The New York Times reports on the movement to remove many types of slurs from Scrabble tournaments. Some players have objected, because many slurs are short words and therefore have a high point value:

Hasbro, which owns the rights to Scrabble in North America, said the Scrabble players association had “agreed to remove all slurs from their word list for Scrabble tournament play, which is managed solely by NASPA and available only to members.”

Julie Duffy, a spokeswoman for Hasbro, also said the company will amend Scrabble’s official rules “to make clear that slurs are not permissible in any form of the game.”

The game that Hasbro sells in retail stores has not included slurs in its dictionary since 1994. But the players association, one of the most prominent governing bodies in competitive Scrabble, had still allowed them. The agreement could also affect what words may be played in online versions of the game.

Interestingly, the author of the article, , manages to write about slurs without actually citing any of them; the closest is “n-word”, which appears in a direct quote. Quite a linguistic feat!

A PDF version of the article is available here.