Accountability: Fines & Appeals

The NFL/NFLPA's schedule of infractions and fines, and a process for appeal.

The NFL and the NFL Players Association collectively bargain an on-field code of conduct for all players. The result: a well-defined schedule of infractions and fines.

The NFL uses the fine schedule to outline the league’s and the union’s expectations for players to conduct themselves in a way that honors the sport and respects the game, their fellow players, the fans and the league. The rules are intended to protect the players from unnecessary risk, promote player safety and emphasize sportsmanship and respect of teammates, opponents, coaches, officials and fans.

Player infractions may come to the league’s attention in a variety of ways. The league may respond to an official’s call during a game or to a specific play that a team submits for review. The NFL Officiating Department also reviews every play from every game and refers potential violations to the Football Operations compliance team.

League staff members examine the plays identified as having potential infractions to determine whether there is cause for additional review. 

Players subject to accountability measures receive a letter informing them of what they did, a video of the play in question, why they are being fined and how much it will cost them. They also receive information on how to appeal the fine. If they choose not to appeal, the fine is withheld from their next game check.

If a player protests a ruling, he schedules a hearing with the NFL, and his case is assigned to one of the league’s current appeals officers, Derrick Brooks or James Thrash, who are jointly appointed and paid by the NFL/NFLPA. Cases are assigned randomly, so neither side in the appeals process knows who will hear a case. The officer assigned to the case reviews the play and hears the league’s case and the player’s defense. The officer’s decision is final, and the ruling is binding.

If the discipline is upheld, the league withholds the amount of the fine from the player’s next check. If the player’s fine is rescinded, he will receive notification of the decision, and no money will be taken from his check.

The fines collected do not go to the NFL, but instead are donated through the NFL Foundation to assist Legends in need. (Programs are mutually agreed upon by the NFL and NFLPA in the CBA.)

Since 2009, about $4 million a year has been used to assist former players.

Violation

First Offense

Second Offense

 

Offense Against Game Official

Physical Contact with Official *

$35,096

$70,194

Verbal or other Non-Physical Offense Against Official *

$28,075

$56,156


Player Safety Rules and/or Flagrant Personal Foul (including, without limitation):

Striking/Kicking/Kneeing

$10,500

$15,500

Horse Collar Tackle *

$15,000

$20,000

Face Mask

$10,000

$15,000

Leg Whip

$15,000

$20,000

Late Hit

$10,000

$15,000

Use of the Helmet/ Spearing/ Launching *

$20,000

$40,000

Hit on Defenseless Player *

$15,000

$20,000

Blindside Block *

$15,000

$20,000

Roughing the Passer *

$15,000

$20,000

Low Block

$10,500

$15,500

Chop Block

$10,500

$15,500

 

Fighting

Fighting *

$35,096

$70,194

Leaving Bench Area During a Fight

$10,500

$15,500

 

Sportsmanship

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

$12,500

$17,500

Taunting

$10,000

$15,000

Football Into Stands

$7,000

$12,000

 

Uniform

Foreign Substances on Body/Uniform

$5,000

$10,000

Chin Straps/Shoulder Pads/ Thigh, Knee Pads/ Over Built Facemask

$5,000

$10,000

Unapproved Visor Tint or Lack of Brand Marks

$5,000

$10,000

Personal Messages

$10,000

$15,000

Unauthorized Logo/ Branding or Intellectual Property

$10,000

$20,000

Uniform Violations (Socks, Jersey, Undergarments etc.)

$5,000

$15,000

Gang Signing

Considered conduct detrimental to the League; suspension or fine; severity to be determined in accordance with provisions of the Personal Conduct Policy.

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