The NFL is currently considering whether or not to introduce 15-yard penalties for players using racial and homophobic slurs during games. The rule would include eviction from the game after a second offense.
The Fritz Pollard Alliance, in charge of monitoring diversity in the NFL, expects the league to introduce the rule during the owners’ meeting next month.
The Baltimore Ravens’ general manager Ozzie Newsome confirmed to ESPN on Sunday, February 23, that there has been a meeting with some officials over the last three days, to consider the rule.
The Fritz Pollard Alliance, named after the first African-American to coach a professional team in 1921, has recently stepped up its game in an attempt to eradicate the use of racial slurs within the sport.
John Wooten, a former American football guard who played nine professional seasons in the National Football League for the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins and now heads the Fritz Pollard Alliance, told CBS, “I will be totally shocked if the competition committee does not uphold us on what we’re trying to do.”
“There is too much disrespect in the game,” he added. Wooten has previously spoken out about the use of slurs in the sport.
If the Fritz Pollard Alliance pushes the rule into effect, it will be a big step for the acceptance of diversity within an overwhelmingly discriminatory sport.
The NFL has been in the spotlight since Michael Sam came out at the beginning of February 2014, after which some officials claimed his sexuality would impact his position in the NFL draft.