In one of the more interesting rule submittals this offseason, the NFL may start penalizing teams for racial slurs spoken on the field of play. ESPN reports that players who use the N-word could be assessed a 15-yard penalty and face the possibility of ejection.
The proposed rule has been submitted by the Fritz Pollard Alliance, a group used to monitor diversity in the NFL. According to Alliance head John Wooten, the league’s competition committee is expected to approve the measure when it meets in March.
“I will be totally shocked if the competition committee does not uphold us on what we’re trying to do,” Wooten said, according to CBSSports.com. “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.”
Committee member Ozzie Newsome confirmed that there have already been preliminary discussions on banning the word from the field, and that the matter will be discussed during the annual meeting. While he did not comment on the rule’s potential passing, Newsome did speak with confidence that it would be easy to uphold.
“With any rule that we put into play we have to look at it from A to Z and find out any unintended consequences as much as the consequences. So, as it was stated in our meeting, there are mics everywhere, so if something has been said it’s probably going to be captured somewhere. So there will be an opportunity to get it verified if we have to.'”
Any new rule must first pass through the competition committee before being introduced to league owners. From there, all 32 teams vote on whether to enact a proposal.