Sportress of Blogitude

NFL issues memo to remind teams that fighting is prohibited


NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport obtained a copy of a memo NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent issued to all teams reminding them that the prohibition on fighting was previously made a point of emphasis in the upcoming season.

An report indicates that the the league elected to issue the memo due to several high-profile incidents involving one fight between opponents and teammate-on-teammate fisticuffs — presumably the locker room altercation that resulted in Geno Smith suffering a broken jaw courtesy of a punch by IK Enemkpali as well as Cam Newton’s practice field scuffle with Josh Norman. The memo specifically points out Article 12 in the league’s 2015 Rulebook, which spells out the prohibited actions and the consequence of fighting-related activities during game play.

The emphasized rule obviously has little to do with the incidents involving Newton and Smith, but the memo reportedly also contained the following passage:

“These rules are in place for the protection and safety of our players and to keep them on the field,” Vincent wrote. “As professionals, no matter how emotional the game becomes, there is nothing that should resort to fighting.

“Coaches are encouraged to emphasize to players, coaches, and other club personnel who are on the sidelines, that fighting will not be tolerated. We greatly appreciate all of your efforts to advance our great game, keep it competitive ans professional, and to ensure that it is played to the highest standards.”

The NFL obviously would prefer that sensational news cycles related to fights between teammates on the practice field or the locker room be kept to a minimum, as it does not cast the league or its players in the best light. And given the public relations issues the NFL has been navigating, the less bad news the better.

Using these incidents to bring renewed awareness to the league’s point of emphasis regarding the prohibition on in-game fighting is merely an effort to kill two birds with one stone, as it were.

[H/T Deadspin, image via The Washington Post]