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NFL Warns Players Over Officials

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports


Following a series of controversial incidents, the NFL has issued a warning. In a crackdown on improper conduct towards officials, a memo was delivered to teams on Monday.

The memo, written by NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent, stated that harsher punishments will be given to players or staff who engage in “offensive contact or conduct – physical or otherwise”.


Full memo, via the NFL:


This is the time of year when emotions run high as the push for the postseason is in full swing. Let us remember to uphold the highest standards of professionalism and sportsmanship. Especially when it comes to taking care of one another, respecting the officials, the fans, and our great game.

We want to keep our players on the field. No one wants a penalty or an ejection to determine the outcome of a game. In recent weeks, however, there have been several suspensions and ejections because of contact with, and conduct toward, our game officials.

Examples include players getting in the faces of officials to dispute calls, penalty flags thrown into the crowd, and officials being verbally disparaged as they leave the stadium. One official even sustained a significant injury during a fight between players on the field.

This is not who we are — as players, as clubs, as the NFL. Going forward, any offensive contact or conduct — physical or otherwise — with an official will result in significant discipline.

The NFL’s policy prohibiting offenses against officials applies to all game day locations, including the playing field, bench area, tunnels, parking lots, and other stadium passageways. We will continue to emphasize enforcement of unsportsmanlike conduct rules with our officiating crews, and they will be encouraged to disqualify players for any offenses directed at them. Such offenses may also result in fines, and/or suspensions.

Please review this memo with your players and members of your coaching staff prior to your next game.


Recent Incidents


Germain Ifedi, tackle for the Seattle Seahawks was flagged for verbally taunting the official against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

An officials flag was thrown into the stands by Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters against the New York Jets.

New Orleans saints coach Sean Payton was given a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for running on the field at an official against the Atlanta Falcons.

Cleveland Browns tackle Shon Coleman shoved an official to the ground against the Los Angeles Chargers. He was fine $30, 387.

In the incident between Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree and Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib, an official suffered bruised ribs.

In a game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch got a game suspension for contacting an official during a scrap.

This development appears to be a shift in thinking from dealing with these incidents retrospectively. With this new, stricter attitude, the league hopes to completely stop this behaviour.

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