The NFL is continuing its move toward changing the culture of its league by mulling the institution of a 15-yard penalty for on-field use of the N-word.
Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome confirmed as much at the NFL Scouting combine. He said the move born out a request from the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which advised the NFL and its players to ban the word this past November.
“We did talk about it. I’m sure you that saw that toward the end of the year Fritz Pollard came out very strong with a message that the league needs to do something about the language on the field. So we did discuss it over the last few days,” Newsome said. “With any rule that we put into play, we have to look at it from A to Z,” Newsome said. “We find out what are the unintended consequences, not just the consequences. As it was stated in our meeting, there are (microphones) everywhere. So if something is being said it’s probably going to be captured somewhere. So we’ll get an opportunity to get it verified if we have to.”
Not only will the use of the word constitute a 15-yard penalty, it would come with an automatic ejection if used twice.
Newsome said NFL officials may present a proposal to owners in Orlando, Fla.
The move to root out the word comes at time when NFL is dealing with the fallout of the Jonathan Martin harassment scandal and possibility of welcoming its first openly gay player in Missouri defensive end Michael Sams.