NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a memorandum to all clubs, coaches, team presidents and general managers last Wednesday, stressing to all parties the measures that players and team employees must uphold and restating how the league's personal-conduct policy can be applied.
There was deep discussion of the conduct policy and how it applies to subsequent discipline during the league meetings last month in Orlando, Fla. This memo follows up on that, with the timing linked to recent events facing the league, the most prominent being the sexual-assault allegations brought against Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in Georgia.
Charges weren't filed in that case, but the issuing of the memo is a further indication of how seriously Goodell takes such matters. It also reinforces the overwhelming sentiment throughout the league that Roethlisberger will be suspended for at least a few games for his actions.
Goodell's memo, a copy of which was obtained Thursday, reads:
"The Policy makes clear that NFL and club personnel must do more than simply avoid criminal behavior. We must conduct ourselves in a way that 'is responsible, that promotes the values upon which the league is based, and is lawful.' This standard reflects the recognition that the conduct and behavior of our players and other league and team employees is critically important. Whether it involves your team or another, these incidents affect us all -- every investigation, arrest, or other allegation of improper conduct undermines the respect for our league by our fans, lessens the confidence of our business partners and threatens the continued success of our brand.
"As your club begins its offseason programs and approaches the Draft, I encourage you to be vigilant in reinforcing this message with your players and staff. It makes no difference whether an incident occurs during the season or in the off-season. At every opportunity, you should remind them of your standards and the public's expectations, of the need to use good judgment, particularly when in a public place, and of the resources available to help us all in meeting these standards."
The memo also points out the various resources available to players, like urging those who intend to drink to make arrangements for their safety and use the league's Safe Ride program. The memo also urges all to avoid "trouble spots" and places where safety cannot be ensured.