League has no comment on lockout beach football

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Recently, Saints coach Sean Payton played beach football with Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, and Lions linebacker Bobby Carpenter.  The event came during the lockout, at a time when management is supposed to be having no contact with the rank-and-file.

With not a whole lot else going on, we decided to ask the league office whether the situation runs afoul of the lockout rules.

“We are aware of it,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told PFT by e-mail this morning.  “No further comment.”

(At least he didn’t say, “Next question.”)

We’ve believed for weeks that violations of the supposedly bright-line prohibition on contact have been occurring.  The temporary lifting of the lockout in late April operated like the stretching of a rubber band, and with the NFL by all appearances not inclined to investigate and enforce possible violations, more and more teams likely have been skirting the rules, if for no reason other than to keep up with the other teams who are violating the rules.

In the case of beach football, the violation (if there was one) was minimal.  But the fact that Payton had no qualms about admitting that he had direct contact with three players underscores the lack of sensitivity that has emerged and expanded, especially as a potential resolution to the lockout approaches.

It also highlights the differences between the NFL and NBA lockouts.  Basketball has stripped player images from websites, arenas, and team headquarters.  A $1 million fine has been threatened against any NBA team that has contact with a player.

For football, idle, unconfirmed threats of termination without pay have been floated — as if the Patriots would fire coach Bill Belichick for calling Tom Brady and asking about, say, his congenital right shoulder injury.

Soon, it could all be moot.  Thus, look for any violations occurring before then to be swept under the rug.  Just like any that have previously occurred.

10 responses to “League has no comment on lockout beach football

  1. Pats wouldn’t fire BB over that. It’s the league who said they would fire coaches. I still don’t get how they can do that since coaches aren’t employed by them. YEs I know they can fine them but I can’t imagine that unless having the ability to fire them is explicitly stated as a part of the NFL conduct policy how they could get away with that.

    Besides I am sure BB is aware that as long as Goodell is commish, he has to be 100% compliant past the letter of the law with anything or Goodell would be on him like a hive of bees. I mean Goodell was still, as of THIS Jan, whining about how he felt lied to by BB in 07 with absolutely no factual basis to support him.

    Also, Payton is a little maverick-ish but no harm done here IMO. It isn’t Saints players is it? Then so what? Anyone think Payton is going to try to help Cowboys players football wise? Nope.

  2. Will the media PLEASE stop distracting these people and let them get a deal done?

    You’re the first ones to ask why aren’t they working to get a deal done, but want them to stop and investigate a beach football game.

  3. RC33 beat me to it….
    Robert Edwards was the 1st thing that popped in my head! Very promising career ended….Great Rookie year, broke Rookie record for rushing TD’s…..blew out his knee playing Beach Football!

  4. Last I checked Payton works for the Saints. Do you really think he’s out there helping out players from different teams, even if he used to coach them and lives in Dallas? The answer is no. It was a harmless game of beach football involving guys that know each other and have worked together before. Non-issue.

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