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Joe Flacco draws criticism after using the ‘r-word’ to describe cold-weather Super Bowls

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Joe Flacco isn't a man of many words, but he's drawing criticism after using one word in particular during his Monday media session at the Super Bowl in New Orleans.

The Baltimore Ravens quarterback is in hot water after using the word "retarded" in response to a question about the NFL's plan to hold the Super Bowl in the cold and open-air environs of MetLife Stadium in New Jersey next year. Though Flacco quickly backtracked on his word choice, the damage had been done. A reporter from the Denver Post transcribed the quote — it was later scrubbed from the official NFL transcript — and more than a couple websites started took aim at Flacco's ill-advised description.

[Related: Colin Kaepernick taking silence-is-golden approach to media circus]

Here's Flacco's full response to the question about the Super Bowl in cold-weather cities:

“Yeah, I think it’s retarded. I probably shouldn’t say that. I think it’s stupid. If you want a Super Bowl, put a retractable dome on your stadium. Then you can get one. Other than that I don’t really like the idea. I don’t think people would react very well to it, or be glad to play anybody in that kind of weather.”

We can't condone what Flacco said. Not when we blasted Boston Red Sox pitcher John Lackey for dropping the 'r' bomb without any self awareness last spring. And not when we remain big fans of R-Word.org's campaign to "spread the word to end the word."

[Related: Ray Lewis dealing with pain of ailing grandmother]

Flacco, however, immediately recognized he had used an ingrained word from the '90s grade-school lexicon that many are still struggling to scrub from their vocabularies. As long as he recognizes his slip and vows to improve, we don't see the need for an extended public flogging.

UPDATE: Flacco apologized for his use of the word on Tuesday: "Obviously it was a bad choice of words. I wish I hadn’t said it. I have a great relationship with Special Olympics back in Baltimore and have had one for many years. I didn’t mean to offend anybody, but I definitely apologize for that.”

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