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.