In the midst of competition, athletes may react or express themselves passionately in way that may seem offensive to people.
To deter players from reacting in such a manner, the National Football League’s competition committee has proposed a new rule to penalize players who use derogatory terms and racial slurs towards one another.
With openly gay athletes, players from around the globe and racially diverse rosters in the sports world, there is a call for team members to be more mindful of what is being said.
Sometimes player’s may brag or insult one another just for the fun of it. A little “trash talking” is a normal occurrence during games.
But some people may find the playful banter inappropriate. This is particularly the case with the use of the N-word.
Some see it as a term of endearment, while others see it as an insult.
Pittsburg Steelers Safety Ryan Clark said that enforcing this rule may be useless in an interview with ESPN.
“I think it’s going to be really tough to legislate this rule, to find a way to penalize everyone who uses this word,” Clark said. “And it is not going to be white players using it toward black players.
Most of the time you hear it, its black player’s using the word.”
No matter the context in which it is used, the NFL wants to see to it that no player uses the word and if so, they will be charged with a 15-yard penalty.
The player in violation will have to live with the guilt of costing his team the game from a force of habit.
The ultimate goal is to stifle the use of this word among all people in association with the NFL, from the players to the fans.
“We want this word to be policed from the parking lot to the equipment room to the locker room. Secretaries, PR people, whoever, we want it eliminated completely and want it policed everywhere,” former football player John Wooten told CNN.
Wooten is the chairmen of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, a group who is devoted to diversity and equal job opportunities in the NFL.
This rule already falls along the lines of the unsportsmanlike conduct, which states that “players may not physically or verbally assault other players or officials at any point in time,” according to Sporting Charts.
The league is trying to expand upon that measure by including homophobic comments and racial slurs such as the N-Word.
“In game situations I do use it. We see it as a way to give each other a competitive boost,” said student athlete Leeandre Fisher.
With recent issues concerning player conduct, such as last year’s locker room bullying incident where Dolphin’s lineman Ritchie Incognito allegedly verbally and physically abused his teammate Jonathan Martin and Seahawks Defensive Back Richard Sherman’s unforgettable post-game rant.
He merely voiced his defensive expertise, while he was also thought to be tearing down another player in the process.
Incidents like these will influence the committee’s proposal at a NFL’s owners meeting later this month.
A worldwide NFL statement read: “The idea of respect among teammates is a priority.”