NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews says the NFL is “teetering on a fine line” in its efforts to crack down on insulting and racially charged language on the field.
“Where does it start? Where does it stop?” Matthews said Tuesday on WFAN’s “Boomer & Carton” show. “I think this is all in an effort to clean up the game, so who knows how this will play out.”
Matthews said he recognizes the league is trying to foster more of a “family friendly environment” in the wake of the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal.
“The reality is that this is a tough sport played by tough men,” he said. “It’s an emotional sport as well, and tempers fly.”
Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said Saturday that the NFL competition committee is considering how to curb both racial and sexual slurs on game days. The N-word has been singled out with the NFL expected to adopt a 15-yard penalty if it is heard by an official on-field, according to ESPN.
“It’s hard for me to comment (as) a guy who obviously doesn’t use the word,” Matthews said. “At the same time, I think the players using it are not understanding the magnitude of it and using it as a term of endearment, and I think that’s where the NFL would like it to change.”
Matthews also touched on the subject of Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, who announced he’s gay earlier this month ahead of the NFL Combine.
“We don’t have a problem, and I don’t think we would,” Matthews said of Sam fitting in with the Packers. “The unique thing about the NFL locker room that every player can attest to is the fact that we don’t see race, religion or sexual orientation. We see simply, can you help us win ball games? Can you help us produce on the football field? And I think that’s what makes it so unique and so much different than (politically correct) America.”
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