NFL might impose 15-yard penalty, ejection for use of racial slur

The NFL competition committee has been discussing a possible new rule that would penalize players and teams for the on-field use of racial slurs.

The rule would penalize a team 15 yards when a player is heard using the N-word and eject a player for a second such offense.


Baltimore Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome confirmed he and the other members of the league's competition committee did discuss the matter during the last three days at the NFL scouting combine.

"We will now go down to Naples (Fla.) starting next Friday and spend more time talking about it,'' Newsome said. "We had some officials in our meeting that are actually out there on the field and hear the language. We'll be able to put all that together and if there's a need to we will present something to our owners in Orlando."

Newsome said the committee also discussed adding other slurs, including homophobic ones, to the rule. If the members decide to proceed with the matter, they will present the proposed rule at the owners' meeting next month.

"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 consequence," Newsome said.

The Fritz Pollard Alliance, which monitors diversity in the NFL, has been working to get the rule enacted. The organization's head, John Wooten, said that he is "extremely hopeful"  it will happen -- and that it will only be the beginning.

"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."

He added: "I think they're going to do what needs to be done here. There is too much disrespect in the game."