NFL teams are not, by rule, allowed to engage in contact during OTAs (organized team activities). It’s a rule that is in place following last year’s new collective bargaining agreement.
Today, the NFL and NFLPA announced together that the Seahawks had violated the no-contact rule, and as a result, the team would forfeit two OTA practices and an offseason workout. Head coach Pete Carroll was not fined for the incident, although I’m sure the violation puts him on notice for future problems adhering to the new CBA.
The Seahawks and Pete Carroll never feared long-lasting and detrimental punishment for breaking the no-contact rule. Really, it’s not a big deal to anyone, but even so, the punishment handed down by the league can’t be viewed as anything other than the lightest of slaps on the wrist. Normally, I’m in favor of not hammering teams for minor violations, but I do think their needs to be a find in this instance.
The reason behind my rare support of fining over other punishment options is that OTAs really don’t have a large effect on the coming season. Yes, losing two practices and a workout slows progress, especially for the rookies on the team, but when September rolls around, no one will remember anything about the incident. I’m not saying the league should be taking draft picks and docking six figures from Pete Carroll’s paycheck, but there are a number of great charities that would love to have a few thousand dollars from a fine. As it stands, the NFL should have just given the Seahawks a warning because the punishment handed down shows the NFL isn’t serious about enforcing this particular rule. At least a small fine would have went to a good cause.