John Wooten, the chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, is encouraged by NFL owners approving a competition committee recommendation to enforce unsportsmanlike penalties for racially-charged language.
“The Fritz Pollard Alliance commends the National Football League and its Competition Committee on their commitment to ridding the League of racial slurs and other offensive, threatening, and abusive language," Wooten said in a statement. "The use of such language on playing fields and in locker rooms tarnishes the game we all love. Racial slurs, in particular, are the ugliest words in our language. And whatever arguments people want to make about the “N-Word” being benign, it reeks of hatred and oppression, and no matter the generation or the context, it simply cannot be cleansed of its taint. We cannot allow it and other hateful slurs to flourish on NFL fields.
“NFL players are among the hardest working young men in this country, courageously trying to win for their teams and millions of fans. However, there is no valor in using these disgusting words. It just diminishes the game and everyone involved. We stand behind the NFL in its dedication on this matter, and we call on each and every club to take responsibility and reinforce the League’s message so that we can eliminate racial slurs and other offensive, threatening, and abusive language from the game we love."
Last year, there was an incident where Washington Redskins offensive tackle Trent Williams used the 'N' word at umpire Roy Ellison, who's also black. Williams denied doing so, but Ellison got suspended for cursing at Williams.
"We're going to clean the game up on the field between the players, the in-your-face taunting, those type of things, the language," St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. "We're going to raise the standard. We've got to change our conduct on the field. We've got to bring the element of respect to the highest level back to our game."
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun