Ross Kelly, CBS Local Sports
If training camp is any indication of how the regular season will go, the NFL may need to hire a new employee to help with mailing out fines to players. There have been many notable altercations thus far and the NFL league office has noticed.
Over the last week we’ve had the Texans-Redskins brawl that was also documented on Hard Knocks. We’ve had intersquad fighting between a smiling Cam Newton and Josh Norman of the Panthers. And of course, we had the shot heard, but not seen, around the world as IK Enemkpali clocked Geno Smith. These incidents and others have prompted the NFL to send out a memo reminding teams about the consequences of fighting.
According to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports, VP of Football Operations Troy Vincent sent out the memo on Friday with an emphasis on the prohibition on fighting. The memo reads in part:
“These rules are in place for the protection and safety of our players to keep them on the field. As professionals, no matter how emotional the game becomes, there is nothing that should resort to fighting…Don’t fight, and if a fight breaks out involving other players, stay away.”
Last month the NFL released their 2015 fine schedule which lists fighting as the most costly offense. On-field fighting carries a fine of $28,940 for the first offense and that amount doubles for the second offense. However, this only applies to in-game situations so none of the above altercations are subject to league discipline under this doctrine (though the Jets’ situation is still subject to disciplinary action).
It wouldn’t surprise me if by the 2016 season the NFL creates some form of punitive action for those involved in training camp fights, particularly when it involves multiple teams like the Texans and Redskins brawl. But for at least this season, players can get their shots in during these situations and are free from (league) punishment.