The NFL is considering penalizing players 15 yards for using the N-word on the playing field the first time, then ousting them from the game if they spew it a second time, according to ESPN.
The NFL’s Competition Committee is also looking into other methods to deter players from using other racial and gender-specific slurs during games and will probably enact the move next month, per John Wooten (pictured), who is also a committee member and the head of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which monitors diversity in the NFL.
Wooten told ESPN, “I will be totally shocked if the competition committee does not uphold us on what we’re trying to do. We want this N-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.”
Respect amongst teammates seems to be the order of the day for the NFL these days as the league re-evaluates policies currently in place while looking to improve the workplace climate.
The NFL has been placed under the microscope lately. The league has been accused of having a locker-room culture where racial taunts have been “acceptable” and where coaches have turned a blind eye at ”playful” sports such as towel snapping and tauntings, the latter in the case of Miami Dolphins teammates Jonathan Martin and Ritchie Incognito.
Incognito was accused of hazing Martin. The hazing included an expletive-laden voicemail message from Incognito to Martin that included racial taunts and ended with “you’re a rookie. I’ll kill you!” After news broke of the incident, there were reports that the team’s coaches were very aware of Incognito’s racist bullying and may have even sanctioned it, so that Martin could “toughen up.”
Arizona Cardinals Defensive End Darnell Dockett, who is Black, tweeted a racist and tasteless joke last year about Asian people: “Apple has a new device out for Chinese people. The iOpener.” Dockette refused to apologize and even gloated about the outrage.
Last year, Cincinnati tackle Trent Williams, an African-American player, reportedly used the N-word when complaining about a call made by a Black ref. Williams has denied using the racial slur.
Regarding the Competition Committee’s institution of the penalties involving racial slurs, the subject is being pondered and the proposals will be presented to NFL owners when they meet in Orlando in late March. Any rule changes would require approval of 24 of the league’s 32 owners.