The NFL sent a stern message to teams Friday, threatening “significant discipline” for violations of the league’s alcohol policy.
The league’s guidelines prohibit alcohol at team facilities, as well as while traveling on team planes and buses. That policy has been seemingly flaunted by several high-profile cases, most recently early Friday morning, when Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Todd Downing was charged with driving under the influence hours after the Titans defeated the Green Bay Packers on Thursday Night Football.
And earlier this month, former Kansas City Chiefs assistant coach Britt Reid was sentenced to three years in prison for an alcohol-related crash last year that left a young girl seriously injured. Court documents showed Reid, the son of coach Andy Reid, had been drinking at a team facility.
The NFL statement reiterated the league’s policy, noting that violations “will be taken seriously and will result in significant discipline.”
“In light of recent events, clubs are reminded that league policy prohibits alcoholic beverages, including beer, in the locker rooms, practice or office facilities, or while traveling on team buses or planes at any time during the preseason, regular season or postseason. This applies to all players, coaches, club personnel, and guests traveling with your team,” the league statement read (via the NFL Network).
“This policy has been in place for many years. Making alcohol available at club facilities or while traveling creates significant and unnecessary risks to the league, its players, coaches and others. Violations of this important policy will be taken seriously and will result in significant discipline.”
Full text of the memo from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, which was sent hours after #Titans OC Todd Downing was arrested on suspicion of DUI after the team’s win at Green Bay. pic.twitter.com/XT7QjIZPmr
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) November 18, 2022
The league’s statement also came just three days after Washington Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke went viral for a video showing him drinking beer on the team plane. The NFL Network reported the Commanders disciplined several players for drinking on the flight, and the league said that discipline was sufficient.
The boy Taylor Heinicke rocking the chains and drinking a Busch Light after the big win. LEGEND 🔥 pic.twitter.com/kgN8DClRQu
— Bussin' With The Boys 🐺 (@BussinWTB) November 15, 2022
NFL fans on Twitter seemed generally opposed to the crackdown, saying that responsible drinking should be allowed.
“No fun league” comments incoming… 🙄
— Erica Kaiser (@EricaKaiser_) November 18, 2022
I mean, they’re grown men. If they want a beer after a game what’s the problem?
— mcculloch. (@mcculloch91xx) November 18, 2022
The problem is if they drink too much then get behind the wheel and kill someone or themselves. The team and NFL would be liable for serving them the same way bars are if they overserve a customer who then drives and kills someone.
— PJU2 (@PearlJam_U2) November 18, 2022
TAYLOR HEINICKE SHOULD BE BANNED FOR LIFE!! pic.twitter.com/R696VvClSO
— MINKAHSZN || IG (@minkahsznig) November 18, 2022
When you’ve got 2 coaches arrested for DUIs, both of which were likely drinking at team facilities/plane within 2 years… it’s a liability.
This was all drafted up by league lawyers as a CYA after this morning’s arrest.
— Corey Go Pack Go (@Bulldog14411) November 18, 2022
Ummmm… everyone knows players have celebratory beverages after wins.
So now it’s an issue.
— Angie Michelle (@AnGdmedizzle) November 18, 2022