Could we be entering a future in where slurs that players use during games be penalized?
The NFL Competition Committee and the Fritz Pollard Alliance (which monitors diversity in the league) are going to be in talks of perhaps instituting a 15-yard penalty for players who are heard using racial slurs and perhaps even homophobic slurs during games. John Wooten, the head of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, wants to see something done about players using bad language on the field. The initial plan for this new rule is for first time offenders are penalized 15 yards for the use of the slur and then an automatic ejection for second infractions. Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome clarified that the two sides would be talking about this issue.
This could have started when Washington Redskins left tackle Trent Williams was accused of using a slur towards referee Roy Ellison in the 2013 season. It was reported that Ellison had some choice words himself as well towards Williams. I am sure that this would not be the first time something like this has been an issue, but I can see why Wooten would want to initiate a penalty for foul language.
While I know that it will be impossible to eliminate any slurs completely, taking the steps necessary to at least make the language cleaner and eliminating not just the racial slurs but the homophobic slurs from the game will at least give players some respect. Trash talking is not a bad thing, but there is a line where a certain word can be taking it too far.
I can understand that trash talking is all part of any sport: Football, baseball, basketball, soccer, you name it. I am sure it is used. But the fact that the NFL is perhaps taking the first steps towards eliminating the use of slurs is a great idea, and I believe the other major sports leagues should follow.
While nothing is certain, this step shows that the league is interested in making sure that every player is respected no matter the skin color or the sexual orientation. Good for the NFL.