Skip to content

NFL likely to make racial slurs a point of emphasis


Although there’s been talk of the NFL adding a rule against racial slurs this offseason, a new rule specifically banning racial slurs seems unlikely to be passed.

Instead, the league will probably make racial slurs a point of emphasis, and remind officials that the NFL already has a rule against abusive language: “Using abusive, threatening, or insulting language or gestures to opponents, teammates, officials ore representatives of the league” is a personal foul penalty in the NFL rule book.

Former NFL head of officiating Mike Pereira said on FOX Football Daily that the league will probably instruct officials to monitor players’ use of language closely and interpret the rule against abusive or insulting language strictly.

“I don’t think we’ll see a rule change coming specifically but I do think we’ll see a point of emphasis coming from this that the officials, it will be put upon them to flag any racial slur, anything they hear that’s a racial slur, period, will draw a 15-yard penalty,” Pereira said.

The NFL has become very sensitive to abusive language since accusations of bullying arose in the Dolphins’ locker room last season. The NFL wants to crack down on the use of racial slurs by players, but the rules already on the books should be sufficient.

Permalink 76 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Rumor Mill, Top Stories
76 Responses to “NFL likely to make racial slurs a point of emphasis”
  1. heymister24 says: Feb 25, 2014 6:44 AM

    Great! Finally they can get rid of that “N” rap music played in lockerrooms and stadium speakers!

  2. jarepine says: Feb 25, 2014 6:48 AM

    Is this a joke?? I understand the importance of this issue but the NFL is allowing the Redskins to keep there name but possibly giving players a 15 yard penalty for racial slurs. The word hypocrit comes to mind.

  3. mhohmann says: Feb 25, 2014 7:01 AM

    Bullying during a game? Ridiculous. Is a sack considerd bullying now?

  4. afcdomination says: Feb 25, 2014 7:05 AM

    so what is next? ban any sort of cursing too?

    where does it stop? I really don’t want my team to on 3rd down, after a huge stop, get a penalty because some moron says the N word congratulating another teammate. this is where we are headed, that is not good.

  5. pksoze says: Feb 25, 2014 7:08 AM

    Yeah the nfl is against racial slurs but its ok to have a team called the Redskins!?

  6. skoobyfl says: Feb 25, 2014 7:11 AM

    I can’t wait to see Ed Hochuli ask for quiet while he reviews the voice replay, LOL. I also can tell you that after personally speaking with many of the SEC players, the odds of clearly understanding what is being said is about 1%.

    New England will also find a way to throw voices & get back to the Super Bowl, only to lose to Eli again who can Jedi mind-trick people into believing he’s a great QB.

  7. tvjules says: Feb 25, 2014 7:17 AM

    How will the refs determine who it was that said something, and will there be instant replay if the player denies it?

  8. hodag54501 says: Feb 25, 2014 7:20 AM

    The NFL is getting to be like Congress: every time they get together for a meeting we should all cry. They strip away a little bit of what football/America is with more rules.

    How would you like to be a referee trying to decide what is proper free speech? How about a game decided because one player called another one a ‘foul’ name?

    I’m going to go cry awhile.

  9. matt2calvin says: Feb 25, 2014 7:28 AM

    We can all see where this is going…

    A ref on National TV is going to flag the wrong guy and call him a racist on in front of the entire country.

    That innocent guy is going to get death threats and his children will be harassed in school.

    It will get very ugly very quickly.

    This is a VERY STUPID idea..

  10. restorativejusticeprogram says: Feb 25, 2014 7:35 AM

    This is another way for organized gambling rings to use NFL referees to “fix” games.

    A referee could simply say player X said the word and that is that as you likely could not disprove it with video. You still think Tim D in the NBA was the only referee fixing game? Just watch …

  11. bigredgoog says: Feb 25, 2014 7:35 AM

    Good move.

  12. tv426 says: Feb 25, 2014 7:40 AM

    They will be astounded to find that 99.9999% of all of the “racial” slurs are said by members of that race.

  13. exboomer says: Feb 25, 2014 7:41 AM

    Half the officials can’t get the calls right in the first place and now you want them to be the speech police on top of that? The owners has lost their minds.

  14. jjb0811 says: Feb 25, 2014 7:44 AM

    Rush nails it: ” The NFL wants to penalize the use of the N-word — 15 yards — when used by the players on the field during the game. It’ll be a 15-yard penalty for use of the N-word in a league populated by 75% African-Americans. “

  15. rjg427 says: Feb 25, 2014 7:45 AM

    Its all about the ending…

    “excuse me mr. football player, did you just end your N word with an ‘A’ or and ‘ER'”

    This is just flat out getting ridiculous

  16. pabrownsfan says: Feb 25, 2014 7:56 AM

    Flag on every play?

  17. warnocker says: Feb 25, 2014 7:59 AM

    Players should just come out and say they use the racial slurs as a way of honoring each other, thats what the Redskins did.

  18. Stupid Lions Fan says: Feb 25, 2014 8:00 AM

    Will the referee announce the slur so players know what the infraction was? *ref turns mic on* “Personal foul, 15 yard penalty, player used the word pasty white bread cracker to another player…. first down'”

  19. alewatcher says: Feb 25, 2014 8:02 AM

    15 yard penalties for words? Good way to lose a game.

  20. psly2124 says: Feb 25, 2014 8:04 AM

    The liberal progressives are out to ruin this game. And they will not stop until football is an after thought. Piece by piece they are destroying it, just like what they gave done to thus country

  21. campcouch says: Feb 25, 2014 8:06 AM

    Drop enough flags and eventually the coaches will guarantee nothing is said.

  22. clownsfan says: Feb 25, 2014 8:07 AM

    I’m sorry but this is just absurd. The refs don’t have enough on their plate? Now they have to monitor in game dialogue? They could barely handle their duties last year.

  23. bstngrdn says: Feb 25, 2014 8:10 AM

    This is ridiculous. There is a huge difference between bullying in a locker room and someone calling someone else a name on the field in the heat of the game. Maybe the NFL should make it a point of emphasis to get better officiating as the games are already being impacted and delayed by more and more poorly called and ill times penalties as it is. This game is on its way to destruction at the hands of idiots.

  24. big64d says: Feb 25, 2014 8:11 AM

    Congratulations NFL you have now given any stupid word any one person can say so much more power and meaning then it ever deserved. Will we be referring to dooty head as the “D” word in 5 years?

  25. elyasm says: Feb 25, 2014 8:14 AM

    Great, more arbitrary penalties deciding the outcome of games. Just what we need…

  26. touchdownroddywhite says: Feb 25, 2014 8:16 AM

    So are they going to start censoring the music at the stadiums too? I’m willing to bet the N word is dropped more through the sound system during a game than it is by the players.

  27. virgintothegame says: Feb 25, 2014 8:16 AM


  28. joetoronto says: Feb 25, 2014 8:19 AM

    The NFL has turned into a league of pansies, what a joke.

    I can hear it now, “He called me a name!”

  29. orivar says: Feb 25, 2014 8:19 AM

    Seriously this is stupid. You’re NOT going to turn a sport like this corporate.

  30. heymister24 says: Feb 25, 2014 8:22 AM

    What if the refs don’t speak jive?

  31. doubleogator says: Feb 25, 2014 8:24 AM

    Just the “N” word? that’s seems like a bit of reverse racism to me. If it’s a penalty for that, then it should be for any name calling such as “Cracker” etc…

  32. mcmccii says: Feb 25, 2014 8:25 AM

    It’s an ugly part of the game. One of the only decisions Goodell MIGHT get right during his tenure. He needs to sort out the Redskins name, too. That abomination of a name is disgusting and needs to be eradicated.

  33. bjsdad says: Feb 25, 2014 8:31 AM

    Hey NFL, define racial slurs .


  34. ez4u2sa says: Feb 25, 2014 8:34 AM

    I think there is a way for the NFL to accomplish this objective without using a penalty, which can affect the outcome of a game. This hyper sensitivity to political correctness is getting ridiculous.

  35. 12is3times4 says: Feb 25, 2014 8:37 AM

    @jarepine: Perhaps that’s exactly why they’re dealing with this through the existing rules instead of drafting a new rule. Unless there are any Native American players or officials in the NFL (Are there? Not to my knowledge), no one on the field is going to take the use of Washington’s team nickname as being aimed personally at them or anyone else on the field, much less in an “abusive, threatening, or insulting” manner. Indeed, unless the Redskins team is playing, no one’s likely to use that term on the field at all.

  36. atlfan31833 says: Feb 25, 2014 8:39 AM

    Love it. Its about time the league steps in. They are the employer and can set the standard just like any other employer that says no facial hair, dress attire, etc. Can’t wait to see them get rid of the dreads too!

  37. slick50ks says: Feb 25, 2014 8:41 AM

    Roger Goodells NFL is a joke, and won’t likely survive his incompetence.

    Knowing the mentality of this country in it’s current state, nascar will become the #1 sport in America.

    This is what happens when lawyers run organizations, ie: government.

  38. heymister24 says: Feb 25, 2014 8:43 AM

    The NFL could introduce the “crooney rule”, for every N rap song played, they must play a Barry Manilow.

  39. reesesteel23 says: Feb 25, 2014 8:44 AM

    Anybody want to know the funniest part of all of it?…HAHA

    White people screaming about equality.

    The one race that has never had to fight for equality is literally screaming about equality in 2014 because the ONE thing they have been asked not to do it use the word n_____. Hilarious.

    Whats worse is they don’t care how derogatory the term is. They just want to be able to use it.

  40. macbull says: Feb 25, 2014 8:51 AM

    Making NFL officials the “word police” is a cop-out by the franchise owners.

    If the NFL wants to change the culture of the Pro game, specifically the language used on the field and in the locker room…the owners need to address the subject with their coaches and players.

    What is next, audio replay to confirm that a player spoke a word that is on the NFL’s list of banned words?

    …can a coach throw the challenge flag?

    …will NFL officials be required to take a hearing test to insure they are qualified?

    …will hearing aids be required equipment for officials?

    NFL officials have enough to do, just calling the game, as it is. The idea of making the officials the “word police” of the NFL is a slippery slope that the NFL should avoid.

  41. marteezy2 says: Feb 25, 2014 8:54 AM

    I think it’s a great decision. There is absolutely no place in society for that word. Fact is, it’s not a cultural thing, it’s an ignorant thing, it’s ugly and hurtful.

    So I am glad the NFL is trying to remove that word from its culture.

    And by the way, this is like apples to hand grenades when comparing the name of the team in Washington to the use of the N bomb.

  42. gotroy1970 says: Feb 25, 2014 9:01 AM

    I had the same thought as jarepine. What if one player calls another player a “Redskin”? Imagine the Cowboys are playing Washington and Dez Bryant calls Deangelo Hall a “Redskin”

    I imagine the NFL is still pretending this is not a racial slur.

  43. thegenoatkinsdiet says: Feb 25, 2014 9:01 AM

    I appreciate what Mr. Wooten wants to accomplish and why, but he can’t legislate respect for others. Penalize one word, and another will take its place.

  44. jbaxt says: Feb 25, 2014 9:08 AM

    Where will they keep the swear jar? And will the head official be responsible for all deposits? And can we please have more commercial breaks? We need to fill the time needed for the 60 year old head official having to jog 200 yards to do the job that anyone watching the tube can do in 10 seconds?

  45. psly2124 says: Feb 25, 2014 9:11 AM

    Redskins is not a racial slur. Never has been never will. 99% of tribes consider it an honor. But the one group who’s led by a leftist Marxist who is not even of Indian decent considers is a slur. Look it up factoids

  46. FoozieGrooler says: Feb 25, 2014 9:12 AM

    ..but slurs, innuendo, put-downs and insinuations regarding sexual preferences are all still just fine.

    Once again the NFL gets it right.
    It’s all in the timing.

  47. godofwine330 says: Feb 25, 2014 9:20 AM

    So what’s next? Are they going to throw a flag for the B word? The MF Word? Are they going to roll out George Carlin’s list of 7 dirty words?

    Look, I am Black, I’m 37 and I hate the N word. I haven’t used it except in discussion of the word. I don’t allow my friends to use it around me without getting checked. When I was yound I made the same excuses that Metta World Peace did saying that, “We changed the meaning, it means this or that now, we don’t mean it the same way, we mean it differently than a White person means it,” or what have you. I was ignorant then. I now know that I was wrong, and you cannot simply change the meaning of a word because you feel like it. It is a bad and dirty word and I wish more people would stop using it. I don’t know if it can be legislated out of the game by officials because how will they know where it came from and who said it.

  48. beattention says: Feb 25, 2014 9:22 AM

    I am so happy we have the PC patrol in our lives as it takes care of everything wrong with America.

  49. sbrian3915 says: Feb 25, 2014 9:24 AM

    Hey..this is the world that the liberals and the leftist media have led us to. You can’t complain when the logical effects of your actions occur.

  50. gmfw7 says: Feb 25, 2014 9:27 AM

    i don’t disagree that ridding the game of racial slurs is a good thing. my only problem is that, like in the real world, the N word (which it seems most of you believe is the only racial slur in the world, based off these comments) is going to predominantly be used between one black and another. so is their going to be a penalty when a black man says “nice hit, my n***a” to one of his teammates after a big third down stop. or will it only be when richie incognito says “bleep you, you dirty n****r”??? and our we going to have to listen to the reporters interrogate the officials every time one of these penalties is called, so they can find out exactly what was said and by who, in order to crucify said player in the media for weeks and weeks?

  51. justintuckrule says: Feb 25, 2014 9:27 AM

    Quit the madness and just throw a flag when a play is actually penalty free.

  52. dsigrey says: Feb 25, 2014 9:28 AM

    So you are going to ask White refs to call Black players for using the “N” word and have them judge intent??? This is going to go over real well…

  53. lightcleric says: Feb 25, 2014 9:38 AM

    The league can’t even be sure Anthony Hargrove said “give me my money” after months of investigation, and they expect incompetent refs to get this right?

  54. doubleogator says: Feb 25, 2014 9:41 AM

    “white people screaming about equality” FYI I really don’t believe this new rule only means that white people can’t use the N word, I do believe that no one will be allowed to use it, blacks and whites alike…

  55. metalman5150 says: Feb 25, 2014 9:49 AM

    You say the word, redskin, like its a racial slur aimed at oppressing a race of people, comparative to the n-word. And I disagree.
    The British were called, red coats, clearly an insult because they were really white. But I’m pretty ignorant so I should let the Gov’t decide for me.

  56. heymister24 says: Feb 25, 2014 9:50 AM

    Will redskin potatoes be banned from the buffet table?

  57. sameer1138 says: Feb 25, 2014 9:57 AM

    The Law of Unintended Consequences is going to have a field day (heh) with this one.

  58. birdfanatdabeach says: Feb 25, 2014 9:59 AM

    Trying to police this using the penalty system is a non-starter. With that being said here is an idea.

    If a player or players is/are violate the rule where usage of overly offensive language is used that player/players will be removed for a play. The teams must police the players.

    A one play penalty. You have to go to the sideline. If you do that more than once or cost the team a time out you can bet it will police itself.

    In Chip We Trust

  59. ju8686 says: Feb 25, 2014 10:15 AM

    Just another tool for “penalties offset … replay 1st down”

    The NFL … Always looking for more ways to manipulate the game.

  60. melikefootball says: Feb 25, 2014 10:29 AM

    Now the officials are going to have to multitask, see and hear a play, lots of luck with that.

  61. ajgreenhof says: Feb 25, 2014 10:40 AM

    It’s a shame grown men can’t act like grown men.

  62. bobbyhoying says: Feb 25, 2014 11:06 AM

    I think every player in the NBA should be offended by the name New York “Giants.” Why should the team from North Jersey make fun of tall people? Couldn’t we re-name them the Cellar Dwellers?

  63. flyman2 says: Feb 25, 2014 11:12 AM

    Thanks for everything Jonathan Martin.

  64. glac1 says: Feb 25, 2014 11:40 AM

    “Big Brother” taking the next step! What happened to freedom of speech. If they do follow through with this it will affect nearly all the wide receivers and defensive backs on the teams rosters! Those who play those positions tend to have the biggest mouths.

  65. ballreaper says: Feb 25, 2014 11:45 AM

    This was one of the DUMBEST suggestion ever like the REFS don’t have enough on their plates to worry about , It would be one thing if this word was being use in a NEGATIVE manner by players of a different race which resulted in alot of problems on the field that was detrimental to the game . But the word is use on the field by a group of the same RACE.

    And this could end up being more of a problem if a REF was to falsely throw a charge of this at a player he was having problems with.

  66. chawk12thman says: Feb 25, 2014 11:56 AM

    I am sure the NFL knows how much of this actually is going on during games. I am okay with this. Nothing has changed except for emphasized enforcement of an existing rule that really won’t be called but about 2-3 three times all of next season, if at all.

    The workplace conduct in the locker room needs to be handled by the Team and is not impacted by this decision. Again, existing laws and policy already exist.

    Hopefully the extra media attention this past year will help change the locker room culture without changing the game and its’ ferocity.

  67. duece5 says: Feb 25, 2014 12:02 PM

    The liberal progressives are out to ruin this game. And they will not stop until football is an after thought. Piece by piece they are destroying it, just like what they gave done to thus country

    duece5 says:

    Like BIG government? Like BIG NFL?

    this is what you get when the few make rules for the many!

    Progressiveness at it’s worst.

    I thought Obama was going to be the GREAT UNIFIER??!!!

    C’mon Goodell, this is the worst decision ever.

    Lay down some guidelines……maybe FINE the team, but not a penalty.

    If players need to begin “changing” the culture, it has to start slow.

    You would think that the trainwreck of Obamacare would have been the example of a drastic shift that causes so much peril to all. But hey…’s progressive, so it must be “right”??!!

  68. mrone50 says: Feb 25, 2014 12:10 PM

    Wait until a player ends up on the injury report, day to day with bruised emotions.

  69. bigredgoog says: Feb 25, 2014 12:20 PM

    You guys changed my mind. Make it a fine only, not a penalty on the team.

  70. flannlv says: Feb 25, 2014 12:27 PM

    Call me skeptical. Ask Anthony Hargrove how well the league office did when it had 8 months to identify a player’s voice. Oh yeah, they got that wrong.

  71. ace8842 says: Feb 25, 2014 12:47 PM

    Politicians, feminists, and politically correct people who don’t care one iota about football are ruining the game. Bullying in football, seriously?

  72. glac1 says: Feb 25, 2014 12:57 PM

    I wonder if the call will be reviewable! LOL

  73. pftcensor1 says: Feb 25, 2014 1:08 PM

    Every one talks all about Redskins … no one cares that Yankees is an ethnic slur…

    Oh I know I know – ‘ that is completely different ‘

  74. klutch14u says: Feb 25, 2014 1:10 PM

    Don’t blame the league, they are in CYA mode now for what Jonathan Martin did/tried to do. If they don’t do stuff like this someone elses attorney is going to convince them they should sue for being harassed on the field.

    Just like concussions, ex-players are suing them and this is the result.

    People are the problem, not the league. They are just being proactive to whats coming.

  75. jburk003 says: Feb 25, 2014 1:23 PM

    Just another way the officials can “take control” of a FIXED game.

  76. ghost26 says: Feb 25, 2014 1:43 PM

    Let’s just make it a friendly game of two-hand touch where everyone is nice to each other & no one’s feelings ever gets hurt.

    At the end of the day Jonathan Martin won’t last b/c he’s not physically tough enough BUT I guarantee his lawyers will wind up suing the Dolphins & blaming them for irreparable psychological damage.

    Look…I’m not saying that he wasn’t treated badly & that Incognito isn’t a jerk & a terrible influence in the locker room BUT give me a break already…

    Did you know Ray Rice knocked his wife unconscious & dragged her body into an elevator so he wouldn’t get caught??? Isn’t that a LITTLE bit worse than being verbally abusive to another player???

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!