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Ahead of the 2015 NFL season, Football Operations issued a memo to all 32 NFL clubs reminding them “fighting will not be tolerated.” Executive vice president of Football Operations Troy Vincent asked coaches and front-office and club executives to make their players aware of the rules, and reminded them that fighting will not be tolerated and will be a point of emphasis for officials this season.
Eliminating fighting keeps NFL games competitive and professional, and to ensure that they are played to the highest standards.
“These rules are in place for the protection and safety of our players and to keep them on the field,” Vincent wrote. “As professionals, no matter how emotional the game becomes, there is nothing that should resort to fighting.”
Players have been reminded:
The NFL policy on fighting is very simple: Don’t fight, and if a fight breaks out involving other players, stay away.
If you are challenged, walk away from the situation and continue playing football. Fights in the NFL are pointless and only lead to penalties, as well as possible fines and disqualification from the game—all of which hurt your team.
Keep in mind that even if you are not a participant in a fight, you will be fined for unnecessarily entering a fight area. “Peacemaking” won’t be accepted as an excuse for entering the area, nor will coming to the defense or assistance of your fighting teammates. If you are already in the vicinity when someone else gets into a fight, move out immediately. If you are not near a fight, don’t get close (this applies whether you are already in the game, entering for the next play, or located in the bench area).
If you unnecessarily enter a fight area, you will be fined whether your involvement is active or inactive. If your involvement is deemed active, you are subject to a higher fine. Active involvement includes, but is not limited to: creating a risk of injury for officials, players, game personnel, or fans; interfering with a game official; contact with opposing players; abusive language or gestures; and other provocative actions that could aggravate the situation or lead to escalation of the fight.
“Coaches are encouraged to emphasize to players, coaches, and other club personnel who are on the sidelines, that fighting will not be tolerated.”