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NFL to Penalize Use of Racial Slur

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(ESPN)—The head of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which monitors diversity in the NFL, expects the league to institute a rule where players would be penalized 15 yards for using the N-word on the field.

John Wooten, the head of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, anticipates that the NFL's competition committee will enact the rule at the owners' meeting next month.

"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."

Newsome also said the committee talked about other slurs coming under any possible new rule, including homophobic slurs.

Wooten, who previously has urged all players to stop using the N-word, thinks the NFL will rule an automatic 15-yard penalty for first-time offenders and an ejection for second infractions.

"I will be totally shocked if the competition committee does not uphold us on what we're trying to do," Wooten said, according to CBSSports.com. "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."

Wooten thinks the competition committee will officially agree to the rule next month before presenting it to the owners.

"I think they're going to do what needs to be done here," he said. "There is too much disrespect in the game."

The competition committee meets for several days in Naples, Fla., next week, where they will decide what will be presented to owners at league meetings in March.

"We will now go down to Naples starting next Friday and spend more time talking about it,'' Newsome said. "We had some officials in our meeting that actually out there on the field and hear the language. We'll be able to put all that together and if there's a need to we will present something to our owners in Orlando.

"With any rule that we put into play we have to look at it from A to Z and find out any unintended consequences as much as the consequences. So, as it was stated in our meeting, there are mics everywhere, so if something has been said it's probably going to be captured somewhere. So there will be an opportunity to get it verified if we have to."

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 by ESPN via ABC News. All rights reserved.

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