Numerous incidents regarding players, coaches and officials in recent weeks has led the NFL to send a memo to teams to warn of severe penalties for continued abuse of officials.
According to Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com, NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent sent a memo to all 32 teams on Monday saying there will be “significant discipline” going forward for any offensive actions toward league officials.
“We want to keep our players on the field,” Vincent said in the memo. “No one wants a penalty or an ejection to determine the outcome of the game. In recent weeks, however, there have been several suspensions and ejections because of contact with, and conduct toward, our game officials. This is not who we are — as players, as clubs, as the NFL.”
The list of incidents that could have led to the league sending the memo are widely varied.
— Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch was suspended a game for contacting an official during a scuffle in a game with the Kansas City Chiefs.
— Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters grabbed an official’s flag and threw it into the stands against the New York Jets.
— New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton was given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for running on the field at an official in anger while trying to call a timeout last Thursday against the Atlanta Falcons.
— Seattle Seahawks tackle Germain Ifedi was flagged for taunting an on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars for verbal conduct toward an official.
— Cleveland Browns tackle Shon Coleman was fined for shoving an official to the ground in a game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
The league apparently is tired of assessing punishment in these matter retroactively and wants to put a stop to the altogether by threatening severe punishment. Officials aren’t going to get every call right, but they can’t become targets on the field for the players and coaches either. The next time an incident occurs, the league will be much more heavy-handed.