For Immediate Release:
March 16, 2022
Robin Goist 202-483-7382
West Palm Beach, Fla. – In a proposal sent to NFL Competition Committee Chair Rich McKay ahead of its annual league meeting this month, PETA is throwing a flag for the term “horse-collar tackle,” which makes light of using tight harnesses to exploit horses for labor. The group wants the name of the penalty replaced with the “Goodell Grab”—referring to the reported $128 million money grab the commissioner received in compensation over the past two years or, failing that, the “back-collar tackle.” PETA also suggested a third option—the “Roy Williams tackle”—after the former Dallas Cowboys safety who injured four players with the maneuver, precipitating the rule change to make it illegal. The request follows the group’s well-received appeal to the baseball world to replace the term “bullpen” with the animal-friendly term “arm barn.”
“Words matter, and the term ‘horse-collar tackle’ trivializes an old-style contraption that exploits horses for labor,” writes PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “You could score a touchdown for horses by instead converting it to the ‘Goodell Grab’ or ‘back-collar tackle,’ as neither of these terms normalizes animal abuse.”
PETA points out that when allowed to be themselves, horses are intelligent and empathetic herd animals who socialize with other members of their large groups, graze, explore over great distances, raise their young, play, and engage in courtship. But when used for human interests, they’re forcibly conscripted into pulling carriages through city streets, dragging plows, competing in harness races, and hauling heavily laden carts.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. The group’s letter to Competition Committee Chair Rich McKay is available upon request. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.