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NFL considering penalizing players for inappropriate or hateful language

02.23.14 at 9:48 am ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — The NFL is considering penalizing players for inappropriate and/or hateful language, specifically, the use of the n-word. A 15-yard penalty would likely be the punishment for a first offense and an ejection for someone who does it twice in a game.

“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,” said Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, who is on the league’s competition committee. “So we did discuss over the last three days. I don’t want to get in from of what the competition committee talked about, but we did talk about race and gender.”

The competition committee is set to meet next week and discuss possible rule change proposals to be presented to the owners next month in Orlando, Fla. For a rule to pass, it requires 24 of the 32 owners to vote in favor.

The proposal comes at a time when the NFL is dealing with a bullying scandal in Miami, as well as the fact that Missouri’s Michael Sam could become the league’s first openly gay player. The rule could be expanded to deal with homophobic language.

“With any rule that we put into play, we have to look at it from A to Z and find out what are the unintended consequences as well as the consequences,” Newsome said. “As it was stated in our meeting, there are mics everywhere. If something is being said, it’s probably going to be captured somewhere. It would be an opportunity to get it verified if we have to.”

Read More: 2014 combine, Michael Sam, Ozzie Newsome,
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