The NFL Might Ban the Use of the N-Word on the Field

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Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The NFL's competition committee is expected to enact a rule at their March owners meeting that would penalize players fifteen yards if they use the n-word on the field. John Wooten, the head of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which monitors diversity in the league, told ESPN that he thinks the automatic fifteen-yard penalty should apply to first-time offenders, while second infractions should be punished with ejection. "I will be totally shocked if the competition committee does not uphold us on what we're trying to do," Wooten said. "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."

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, who serves on the league's competition committee said, "We did talk about it, I'm sure that you saw near the end of the year that Fritz Pollard (Alliance) came out very strong with the message that the league needs to do something about the language on the field. So we did discuss over the last three days."

Under the possible new rule, homophobic slurs might also be outlawed because, as Wooten reiterated, "there is too much disrespect in the game."