Press Release

ADL Welcomes NFL’s Willingness to Address Hate Speech

New York, NY, February 25, 2014…The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) welcomed reports that the National Football League is considering how to discourage the use of offensive slurs during the course of games.

The NFL’s Competition Committee reportedly is contemplating a policy that would penalize a player 15 yards for using discriminatory language -- including the “N-word” and potentially other slurs -- during football games.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

Sports have long been a centerpiece of our culture, and it is important that organizations such as the NFL embody American values of inclusion, pluralism, and equality.  The question of how to address offensive speech and the best ways to counter it on playing fields and in locker rooms is an important conversation.

We are pleased the NFL is giving serious consideration to this challenge.  While framing and implementing rule changes are complicated, and there are serious questions about how to draw lines and how to enforce them, the conversation the NFL is prompting among owners, coaches and players is important.

Calling attention to this problem will itself help to promote the positive culture the NFL is trying to create throughout their franchises, and will also serve to sensitize the wider public --particularly youth -- who look up to sports figures and try to emulate their conduct.  We applaud the NFL’s willingness to confront and look for constructive ways to sideline hate speech.