MILFORD, Conn., Feb. 25 (UPI) -- After reports surfaced over the weekend that the NFL is considering penalizing players on the field for using the racial slur most commonly directed toward African-Americans, one of the league’s top defensive players weighed in on the topic on Tuesday.
“I think it’s used as a term of endearment between players, and I think it’s so much a part of pop culture and culture in general that it’s going to be very hard to eliminate that from the game,” Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews told Dan Patrick. “I think is more something that should come from the locker room, organization, and team leaders to remove it if they see fit.”
“This is an emotional game played by tough men who obviously are a little crazy in doing so. I think this is going to be a very fine line as far as where this stops, when you start eliminating language from play... It’ll be very difficult.”
The proposed rule change would impose a 15-yard penalty for a player’s first use of the word and result in an ejection for any subsequent usage of the offensive term. It’s unclear how officials would negotiate the potentially hazardous terrain of deciding whether a player was using the word as an insult or a term of endearment.
The league is also reportedly considering making the use of homophobic language a penalty.
"I will be totally shocked if the competition committee does not uphold us on what we're trying to do," said the head of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, John Wooten. "We want this word to be policed from the parking lot to the equipment room to the locker room. Secretaries, PR people, whoever, we want it eliminated completely and want it policed everywhere."
[The Dan Patrick Show] [Pro Football Talk]