John Wooten, head of the Fritz Pollard Alliance that monitors diversity in the NFL, said he expects the league's competition committee to enact a rule at the owner's meeting next month making it an automatic 15-yard penalty if a player uses the N-word on the field, with a second infraction meriting an ejection.
Wooten spoke about his desire to eradicate the word completely from NFL workplaces at the Fritz Pollard event during the combine, wanting it to be fineable and policed throughout team facilities, and received a standing ovation according to those in attendance. Wooten said he will continue being vigilant about this with the NFL office and Commissioner Roger Goodell.
"I will be totally shocked if the competition committee does not uphold us on what we're trying to do," Wooten said. "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."
The NFL had no comment, but league sources did confirm that the idea of "respect" among teammates is a priority. The league is studying major changes to workplace policies in the wake of the Wells report, and Goodell and Troy Vincent from the league office have already met with 35 players to discuss issues of workplace conduct.
Wooten said the competition committee will formally decide whether or not to support his measure at the meeting in March, and then present it to owners. Wooten is "extremely hopeful" it will pass.
"I think they're going to do what needs to be done here," he said. "There is too much disrespect in the game."