When NFL referees visit the St. Louis Rams on as part of a training camp swing this week, players will be shown a 12-minute video that stresses a "zero tolerance" policy for "players' on-field use of racial slurs or abusive language relating to sexual orientation."
The new emphasis takes on a new meaning with Michael Sam in training camp for the Rams, the first openly gay player in league history. The Washington Post's Mark Maske obtained the video and provided this transcript:
"As the most visible and influential sports entity, we have an obligation to set the standard for sportsmanship," a narrator says during the NFL's officiating video. "The use of abusive, threatening or insulting language directed at opponents, teammates, game officials or representatives of the league is covered under unsportsmanlike conduct in the playing rules. This includes racial slurs, comments regarding sexual orientation or other verbal abuse. Actions such as these will result in 15-yard penalties and potential discipline. Coaches, game officials and other league personnel will be held to the same high standard."
In addition to the officials visit, the Rams are also having the team attend a meeting on workplace conduct, Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Linebacker James Laurinaitis said he's sure some players will complain about having to sit through another meeting.
"But I don't think it ever hurts to just talk about general respect for other people and other players," Laurinaitis said. "Obviously with having Michael (Sam) in the locker room, there's a need to talk about just general respect for people. ... There's not a problem in our locker room. However, it doesn't hurt to go around and remind people about it. And just be sensitive to it. Everyone deserves to be treated as a human being and with respect."
The Rams are also among a growing trend in NFL teams not submitting their rookies to hazing, long a tradition. As Eagles coach Chip Kelly said last year: "Everybody is a professional, everyone is on the same team. We don't have a rookie show, we don't do those things. We're all on the same side."