(Reuters) - The National Football League sent a memo to all 32 teams on Friday saying “fighting will not be tolerated” and instructing players and coaches that if a brawl breaks out, “stay away.”
NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent wrote in the memo that prohibiting fights during games will be a point of emphasis for referees this season.
“As professionals, no matter how emotional the game becomes, there is nothing that should resort to fighting,” Vincent wrote.
“Coaches are encouraged to emphasize to players, coaches, and other club personnel who are on the sidelines, that fighting will not be tolerated.”
In the memo sent to team executives, general managers and head coaches, Vincent reiterated the NFL policy: “Don’t fight, and if a fight breaks out involving other players, stay away.”
The NFL has been rocked recently by several incidents of fighting in training camp.
A joint practice last Saturday between the Houston Texans and Washington Redskins was disrupted by several brawls, while at the Carolina Panthers’ training camp on Monday a scuffle broke out between quarterback Cam Newton and cornerback Josh Norman.
On Tuesday, New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith had his jaw broken when he was punched in the locker room by teammate IK Enemkpali. Smith underwent surgery Thursday and is expected to be out six to 10 weeks, while Enemkpali was released by the Jets and picked up by the Buffalo Bills.
Reporting by Steve Ginsburg in Washington; Editing by Eric Beech