INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- According to the man in charge of the group that monitors diversity in the NFL, the league's competition committee may enact a rule making it a 15-yard penalty to use the racial slur primarily directed toward African-Americans.
The head of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, John Wooten, said the rule punishing use of the word may be put in place at the owners' meeting next month. "I think they're going to do what needs to be done here," Wooten said. "There is too much disrespect in the game."
After their first penalty for violating the rule, players would face an ejection for a second infraction.
"I will be totally shocked if the competition committee does not uphold us on what we're trying to do," Wooten said according to CBS Sports. "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."
Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said the competition committee is also considering making the use of homophobic language a penalty.
“On the field, I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t heard it,” Minnesota defensive back Brock Vereen told the New York Times. “But not enough to where I would see a rule change being necessary. It’s always tough when you get into laws about freedom of speech.”
Tolerance in the NFL has been a hot topic after projected draft pick Michael Sam announced that he is gay.
“Although it’s a word you don’t want to say, there’s no way possible that you’re going to eliminate the word from the whole game,” Wyoming safety Marqueston Huff said. “It’s a game of emotion. You go out there and say some things you might regret later. A lot of times it’s not used as a racial slur. It’s just a kind of way for guys to speak.”
[CBS Sports] [New York Times]