Incognito’s golf-couse incident dusts off question about alcohol at team functions

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Last year’s alleged golf-course misconduct from Dolphins guard Richie Incognito has prompted a fair question regarding the possible root of Incognito’s recklessness that day.

Why was alcohol available at a team function where players were present?

In 2007, the NFL banned alcohol from all team functions, buses, and flights.  Read broadly and applied strictly, the rule would encompass something like the Dolphins’ annual golf outing.

According to the league office, it doesn’t.

“That alcohol ban didn’t include events like a charitable golf tournament,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT via email. “The story [from 2007] doesn’t fully explain the policy, which did not impose new policies or change policies regarding serving of alcohol at other club-related functions, including at sponsor or hospitality events, charitable golf tournaments, holiday parties, and related settings. In each of these settings, clubs remain responsible for determining their own policies concerning whether alcohol will be served and if so, under what conditions.”

For outings at a golf course, it becomes difficult if not impossible to eliminate access to alcohol.  Regardless, the mixture of players, sponsors, and alcohol can result in all sorts of unwanted outcomes.

The ability of teams to conduct certain functions with alcohol being served has created friction within some teams regarding whether players will be attending team events where alcohol is served.  Typically, management of the football operation opposes it, while management of the business operation (especially the folks responsible for keeping sponsors happy) supports it.

It’s unknown whether the Dolphins debated internally the wisdom of mixing alcohol, sponsors, Incognito, and volunteers at the golf event.  It’s safe to say that the Dolphins would, in hindsight, remove alcohol or Incognito or the volunteer whom he allegedly assaulted away from the May 2012 event.

11 responses to “Incognito’s golf-couse incident dusts off question about alcohol at team functions

  1. So… richie incognito was “dusting off” the woman (at the golf course) who signed the confidentiality agreement.

  2. It had to be alcohol because a guy who got kicked off Nebraska’s football team, Oregon’s football team, St. Louis Rams football team, Buffalo Bills football team, and Miami Dolphins football team could never have done anything like this.

  3. Meanwhile, the NFL happily accepts billions in advertising from beer and alcohol companies. Teams make a killing in overpriced beers at stadiums knowing full well many fans get drunk and cause problems. Hypocrites.

  4. Sane, rational people would interpret that ban to cover such things as practice, games, travel, daily work routines. Lawyers looking for an after-the-fact reason to pass judgment would interpret it as broadly as it is implies in this article.

  5. A question only asked if you actually don’t know the league policy, but you do… so you are just back to stirring the pot and crucifying Incognito based on nothing.

  6. The issue isn’t alcohol at team functions, the issue is Richie Incognito’s apparent inability to handle alcohol.

  7. Can the NFL ban alcohol if the Dolphins make this guy a team captain and he has OL meetings at a strip club? At some point the role of the team placing this guy in a position of leadership will come into play.

  8. Oh I see, alcohol is at the root of all evil. Why should responsible folks be penalized by the actions of those less so? Leave alcohol in place, crucify those that misbehave. Simple enough.

  9. Alcohol is not the problem. That would mean every team in the NFL has players who have ugly incidents at team charity golf tournaments. You can’t take it away because then the sponsors could question the team’s integrity for trusting its players with alcohol. Besides, this is a corporate function and, as an employee of the organization, you should act appropriately. This isn’t the football field or locker room, where you can shoot the breeze and act all crazy. There are all kinds of people from the business world at these types of events. You’re expected to act professionally. Incognito, and players like him, are the problem.

    You think players from other macho sports and sports leagues like the NHL or UFC would act inappropriately at sponsorship events? What about the military or firemen? The answer is no. So, Incognito doesn’t get a pass.

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