NFL team owners may endorse a new rule next month that will penalize players for using the N-word on the field.
Coaches and players have been fined in the past for swearing at fans, but not each other. Taunting penalties have been handed down but language is not usually parsed out as the reason for the flag.
The decision is raising concern from players in the league because the NFL is comprised of almost 70% African-American players who will be the primary recipients of the fine.
“I think it’s going to be really tough to legislate this rule, to find a way to penalize everyone who uses this word,” Ryan Clark, a Pittsburgh Steelers safety who’s spent 12 years in the league, told ESPN’s Bob Ley during an “Outside The Lines” special report. “And it’s not going to be white players using it toward black players. Most of the time you hear it, it’s black players using the word.”
The decision comes from the drama in the Miami Dolphins locker room between lineman Jonathan Martin and teammate Richard Incognito, who is white, and called him the N-Word on several occasions.
The proposed penalty for using the N-Word is 15 yards, which is pretty steep. Right now other penalties that incur 15-yard penalties include:
- Chop block.
- Clipping below the waist.
- Fair catch interference.
- Illegal crackback block by offense.
- Piling on.
- Roughing the kicker.
- Roughing the passer.
- Twisting, turning, or pulling an opponent by the facemask.
- Unnecessary roughness.
- Unsportsmanlike conduct