NFL Opening Pandora's Box With Most Recent Rules Addition

By Jeff Hartman
NFL Commisioner Roger Goodell
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL is known for rules changes, whether it was the five yard contact rule for defensive backs, illegal hits to the head of a defenseless player, or hitting a quarterback below the knees. The one constant undercurrent of all those rules changes is simple — perception.

The NFL doesn’t want to be known as an organization that sees itself as dangerous and is doing nothing about it. When the concussion stigma was at its peak, the NFL had to do something to make it seem as if it truly cared about their players safety and not just money. Welcome in the concussion protocol and the rule change to eliminate hits to the head.

The one thing about these rule changes is that they are simply a facade. When you look at all the moves the NFL makes, whether it be TV deals or rules changes, its all about one thing — money.

The NFL is the richest professional league in the world, and it realizes that a good public perception equates to more money. The new rule that is expected to be put in place for the 2014-15 NFL season would fall into the same category of public perception.

The NFL is expected to pass a rule stating that any player that uses the N-word on the field of play will have a 15 yard penalty assessed to him.

Please don’t read this article in a manner that would think I am against the elimination of such a nasty word that carries more connotation than I can ever imagine. Eliminating that word, amongst others, is a step in the right direction in terms of creating a world that is an overall better place with less hatred.

However, in terms of the NFL as an organization, this rule has certainly opened up Pandora’s box in terms of issues. If a player uses the N-word they will be penalized, but what if a player uses another derogatory term towards another player? This line of thinking and questioning could go on and on in terms of when to draw the line.

In my opinion, it is a line that is so delicate that one has to wonder if it should ever be drawn in the first place. These NFL players are fierce individuals and what they say on the field of play can be harsh, but count me in the group of people that think penalizing a player for what they say is a little much. What’s next? Penalizing players for simply using foul language?

Although the attempt to eliminate such a nasty word from players’ vocabulary is a great thing, the NFL passing this rule is opening up a box that holds a slew of issues along with it.

It’s all about perception, which equals money.

Jeff Hartman covers the Pittsburgh Steelers for and  also contributes for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Pittsburgh Pirates. Follow him on Twitter @BnGBlitz and  add him on Google+.

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