NFL to crack down on obscene language and gestures

08/02/2014 12:00 AM

08/02/2014 12:02 AM

If Randy Starks uses an obscene gesture directed at the Dolphins bench this year, he can expect a 15-yard penalty.

The NFL wants to clean up the potty language this year, spurred in part by the Dolphins’ bullying scandal. And so, officials will flag players who curse or flash offensive gestures with an unsportsmanlike penalty personal foul.

That includes words and actions directed at teammates and coaches —like Starks’ infamous middle finger to the Dolphins’ bench in the 2013 season opener.

“He better not let me see him do it,” said NFL line judge Mark Perlman, in town to brief Dolphins players on rule changes and points of emphasis.

Officials will have zero tolerance this fall for obscene, abusive language, particularly that of a racial or sexual orientation nature, and if it is used it will result in a flag.

The league has also banned blocks in which an offensive player rolls up the side or back of a defender’s leg. Another change: the clock will continue to run after a sack late in the first and second halves; before, it was stopped to get the ball spotted.

This year also brings a change to the instant replay system. In-stadium officials will be able to discuss plays with the league office in real time.


•  Matt Moore, the Dolphins’ backup quarterback, is dealing with a shoulder injury and likely will not participate in Saturday’s intrasquad scrimmage (9:30 a.m., Sun Life Stadium). Wide receiver Matt Hazel (concussion) is also expected to miss multiple practices.
• Friday was the fourth consecutive day with a Dolphins practice, and so Joe Philbin gave a number of veterans a breather. Tackle Branden Albert, guard Daryn Colledge, receivers Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson and corners Brent Grimes and Cortland Finnegan were among those to get a maintenance day off from extensive work.
• Linebacker Jelani Jenkins stopped practicing midway through Friday morning’s session. He watched the remainder from the sideline with a wrap on his right leg.
•  Mike Wallace continues to rest as he recovers from a minor hamstring injury.
• Philbin singled out Moore, receiver Rishard Matthews and tight end Dion Sims as the Dolphins reserves who have impressed this summer.
• The Dolphins on Friday signed linebacker Ryan Rau, a former Philadelphia Eagle who appeared in the Canadian Football League last year. They waived/injured linebacker Tariq Edwards to make room.

Join the Discussion

Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service