‘Cracker’: What is meaning of word allegedly used by Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown
Raiders wide receiver allegedly Antonio Brown called GM Mike Mayock ‘cracker’. Pic credit: Raiders/YouTube

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown reportedly called Raiders general manager Mike Mayock “cracker” during a recent altercation. But according to ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Brown has apologized since the alleged incident was first rumored.

According to ESPN, Brown issued an “emotional apology” to the team during a meeting that took place on Friday morning (September 6).

Josh Schrock of NBC Sports wrote about his feelings on the topic.

“With the thought of losing $29 million hanging over his head, Brown reportedly thought better of his actions and tried to mend the relationship Friday by offering an apology to his team.”

The altercation between Brown and Mayock was reportedly sparked by fines the team leveled against Brown after he missed team practice and one walkthrough.

After Brown reportedly received a letter from Mayock informing him he was being fined for missing practice, Brown posted the fine letter on Instagram and unfollowed the team.

Then, Wednesday, Brown confronted Mayock while the team GM was watching practice. According to a team source that spoke with ESPN’s Anderson, an argument ensued when Brown “cussed” and called Mayock a “cracker.” The sources also said that although the confrontation never came close to getting physical, Brown threatened to punch Mayock.

Mayock reportedly walked away to prevent further escalation of the confrontation, while teammates, including Vontaze Burfict, tried to calm Brown down.

Brown’s agent Drew Rosenhaus tried to excuse Brown’s behavior by explaining that he was still in the process of adjusting to the culture in his new environment. He added that Brown was committed to mending his relationship with the team.

What is the meaning of ‘cracker’?

The term “cracker” (“cracka”) is used as an ethnic or racial slur for Americans of European descent, but more specifically for Americans of northwestern European descent, according to the online Urban Dictionary.

However, the term is believed to have originated in the Southeastern U.S. as a term for poor whites, especially rural laborers and blue collar workers considered to be unsophisticated. The term was originally not a racial slur, but it later came to be used in the same sense as other racial slurs such as “redneck” and “white trash.”

According to the Urban Dictionary, the original meaning of the term “to crack” denoted vain ostentation. The use of the term in reference to poor whites was based on the stereotyping notion that poor Southern whites were fond of vainglorious boasting, arrogant pretension, and braggadocio, presumably as a way of compensating for their low social status.

Green’s Dictionary of Slang  quotes  G. Cochrane, in a letter dated June 27,  1766:

“I should explain to your Lordship what is meant by crackers, a name they have got from being great boasters, they are a lawless set of rascalls on the frontiers of Virginia, Maryland, the Carolinas and Georgia, who often change their places of abode.”

Green’s Dictionary of Slang also quotes the Georgia jurist and educator A.B. Longstreet (1790–1870), who wrote in his book, Georgia Scenes (1835), that the term was widely used in the nineteenth century as a term for poor rural whites.

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