As the NFL takes unprecedented measures to force players to leave the violence at work, the league is having a hard time getting players to limit the violence to the portions of work where violence is allowed.
The disconnect between the league’s zealous effort to clamp down on domestic violence and the shoulder shrugging over workplace violence has become glaring. Last week’s memo to all team reminding them that “fighting will not be tolerated” focuses only on games. To date, there has been no league-wide effort to clamp down on fighting during practices.
Which makes it not surprising that fights continue to happen during practice and elsewhere within the workplace. How are players supposed to know that it’s prohibited to break a jaw with a sucker punch in the locker room if the player gets cut and then quickly claimed on waivers by another team, with no sanction of any kind from 345 Park Avenue?
So why hasn’t the league done anything about the fighting? Probably because the non-sports media isn’t criticizing the NFL for failing to keep players from inflicting violence on other players in the workplace. If/when that ever happens, look for the league to mobilize quickly to find someone to hammer with sanctions, with no retroactive action taken against the many teams and players who have taken the “when in Rome” approach to literally mean the floor of the Coliseum.
Until then, the NFL’s approach to the fighting will be to quietly ask, “Are you not entertained?”