NFL warns of “significant discipline” for any offensive conduct toward officials

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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, 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.

— An official sustained bruised ribs during the altercation between Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree and Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib.

— 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.

26 responses to “NFL warns of “significant discipline” for any offensive conduct toward officials

  1. Officials are more fragile than NFL players and they don’t wear any protection, not even a helmet or knee pads. However, not suspending a player who dove at the knee of an opponent on purpose is ludicrous.

  2. nobody expects the officials to get every call right, but they also can’t let their personal feelings get in the way of deciding the outcome of a game

  3. Forfeit dRaft picks. Start at round 7 for the first incident and work your way up.

    That would stop this nonsense fast.

  4. At that this point, I’m not sure you can put the toothpaste back into the tube. I always thought that this was the policy?
    The problem becomes enforcing it fairly.
    We have no idea anymore why one play is flag and another isn’t.
    One catch is a touchdown but another isn’t.
    Tackling someone can lead to a suspension, but fighting after the play and climbing into the stands doesn’t lead to a suspension.

    Good luck.

  5. Somebody has to discipline the refs. They make terrible calls and nothing happens. Some of the calls are so bad and random at times it feels for certain the refs are trying to dictate the outcome of the game.

  6. “No one wants a penalty or an ejection to determine the outcome of the game.

    OR A BAD CALL! which happens why too often.

  7. What a joke when in reality the league should be looking into how games are officiated and the inconsistent calls of each crew.

  8. so Ifedi is going to be suspended for taunting right?

    Coleman got fined for that? He was chasing the ball and probably didnt see the official until the last minute…ridiculous

  9. So throwing the referee’s flag into the stands warrants a suspension but trying to end someone’s career is OK.

  10. But if you go after fans or players knees that’s totally fine…

    The warden is confusing the prisoners, or is it the asylum doesn’t have disciplined prisoners?

  11. the refs are a bunch of bumbling bafoons whos goal in life is to antagonize athletes and sports fans. theyre a cancer on society and dont deserve protection but rather persecution

  12. The NFL should also change their rules to state when a player is ejected for any infraction that they must be out for a minimum of one full quarter. This means that if such an ejection occures in the fourth quarter the ejection would include the entire next game. This would help stop the garbage plays at the end of the game such as fighting and trying to hurt someone like in the last Seahawks game.

  13. send a second one to Carolina, those green bay refs will be in full force Sunday making sure A-aron and his packers get to the postseason to be humiliated again.

  14. Officials aren’t going to get every call right
    NFL can start by not allowing former players turned refs to officiate their own former teams they played for to eliminate the potential for biased rule application… Just a suggestion

  15. Running on the field in anger! Oh heavens to betsy!! I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact he was trying to call a timeout and all the officials were straight up ignoring him.

    What a joke this league has become.

  16. I understand why laws that apply to me and you regarding assault don’t apply to football players who get to do things that would get you and me arrested.
    But why don’t those same laws apply to refs?
    It’s like the football field is a lawless battleground.

  17. Unless it’s the Jets. Goodwill always treats his and his Dad’s ex employer with kids gloves.

  18. Too bad there cant be significant discipline for offensive conduct by the officials!

  19. I didn’t see Pete Carroll’s name on that list for arguing with the Refs
    on the field while his team was going psycho ve the Jags this past Sunday.

  20. So much is wrong with the game officiating and player discipline, it’s impossible to know where to start. You have refs who are simply too old to keep up with the on-field action and seemingly no consequences for flagrantly bad calls. How about hiring a top-notch officiating corps and making them accountable through fines and suspensions for their own missteps? And when it comes to player discipline, let’s see some consistency. An ejected player is fighting stadium security trying to get into the stands to assault fans, and that leads to … nothing. A player ignores the gentleman’s agreement on kneel-downs, causing a huge fight at the end of the game, and that leads to … nothing. Ravens’ Jefferson deliberately spears Le’veon Bell in the knee, and that leads to … nothing. We can’t spear players in the head, but it’s okay to take out a knee. Goodell is a joke.

  21. Jag fans just can’t zip it and enjoy squeaking out a win. Jacksonville talked trash and played dirty all game. How did KJ Wright get injured……anybody? He was targeted helmet to helmet from the side. Funny how your team played a filthy game but all the sudden thought it would just be a simple kneel down nicey nicey last minute.

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