By Sam Zuba, contributing editor
The NFL might not be cracking down on players' speech after all.
Speaking on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access" on Tuesday, NFL Media's Chief Correspondent for Player Health and Safety Andrea Kremer cited a source who said the league's competition committee won't recommend penalizing players for using the N-word during games.
"I talked to a member of the NFL's Competition Committee who said, 'We are not the word police and this is not charm school.' He said they would not penalize a player for any language on the field unless it falls under the category of taunting, which is already a 15-yard, dead-ball foul," Kremer said. "The competition committee, the only thing they will recommend on this issue is that they will continue to make taunting a point of emphasis."
Kremer said when the NFL Annual Meeting kicks off next week, there will be lots of talk about changing the culture of the NFL.
"I talked to one league official who said, 'We need to start acting like a $10 billion business and not a kid's game.' You're going to be hearing the words 'culture change' even more now," Kremer said. "The league has been working with industry experts who have been developing diversity training that is particular for the NFL. It's customized for the league, just as if they were Texaco or Coca-Cola. They plan to start rolling out programs in May or June."
To aid that culture change following the findings of the Ted Wells report, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has started meeting with players, coaches and team executives in an effort to create continuity across the league.
The idea is to get players to understand and celebrate diversity in a positive way.
"Now, Goodell and other league officials have already met with more than 40 players in two separate panels, and more are planned to continue," Kremer said. "They'll be discussing issues ranging from leadership, to the locker room, music and respect. The one thing they've heard from players is (the players) feel like they've all been painted with the same negative brush stroke because of the Dolphins' situation. They want to be part of the solution."