The NFL has threatened to hand down significant punishment to any players or teams involved in fights before or during games.
In a memo obtained Sunday by ESPN, the NFL told teams that fighting “is irreconcilable” with the league’s values and “is never acceptable.” The memo, sent Wednesday to top executives and head coaches of all 32 teams, also reiterated the league’s warmup rules and outlined potential discipline.
Any players or club personnel who fight before or during a game are subject to ejection, suspension and/or “significant fine,” according to the memo.
Any team whose players or personnel are involved in a fight could potentially forfeit a draft pick and/or face a fine. The NFL also said that teams whose players or personnel join an existing fight could potentially be “subject to more significant accountability measures.”
“Fighting is never acceptable, as it risks unnecessary injury to players, coaches, officials, and other game day personnel,” the league memo says. “These actions send an inappropriate and unacceptable message to players, coaches, and fans at all other levels of the game.”
The NFL said no players were disciplined as a result of either fight but emphasized that it intends to “strongly enforce” its policies going forward. The league also said its football operations staff will monitor team activities before and during the warmup period, when teams are required to stay in their designated areas inside their own 45-yard lines.
“The game day policies are clear on this point,” the memo says. “They were reviewed with the membership at the Fall meeting and there should be no ambiguity or misunderstanding.”