It’s been in the back of the NFL rule book for seemingly forever, but on-field discipline for players who use abusive and insulting language on game days is about to get pushed to the forefront in an unprecedented way.
The NFL has decided to deliver a major crackdown on unsportsmanlike-conduct infractions this season, urging game officials to issue 15-yard penalties every time one of them hears any over-the-top language.
That can include, but is not limited to, words or gestures a referee deems threatening or demeaning to opponents, teammates, officials or representatives of the NFL. Any racial or homophobic slurs, especially, will result in penalties, fines and possible ejection and further discipline.
Cardinals linebacker Lorenzo Alexander understands why the league is trying to fix a problem it says can make an impact on youths, and he agrees there should be zero tolerance when it comes to racist and anti-gay remarks.