NFL bans alcohol for team functions, flights
NEW YORK – NFL clubs may no longer serve alcohol at team functions or on buses or flights, extending a ban that until now applied only in locker rooms.
NFL owners and executives were told Thursday by commissioner Roger Goodell that the rule pertains not only to players but to owners, coaches and guests.
“I believe that no constructive purpose is served by clubs continuing to make alcoholic beverages available, and that doing so imposes significant and unnecessary risks to the league, its players and others,” Goodell wrote to all 32 teams in a letter obtained by The Associated Press.
The commissioner’s letter separates him from, among others, baseball commissioner Bud Selig. After St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock died a month ago in what was ruled an alcohol-related auto accident, Selig said a decision on banning beer in clubhouses was a team matter, not a league one.
Goodell’s letter is in keeping with his policy of setting strict standards for behavior by players, coaches and officials after a year of numerous arrests, many of them for alcohol-related offenses. He has imposed strict suspensions on those who violated those policies, including a yearlong suspension for Tennessee’s Adam “Pacman” Jones, which is currently under appeal.
The letter is addressed to chief executives, club presidents, general managers and head coaches.
“Effective immediately,” it reads, “clubs are prohibited from providing alcoholic beverages, including beer, in any club setting, including in locker rooms, practice or office facilities, or while traveling, including on team buses or flights.
“This prohibition extends not only to players, but to all team personnel, as well as to other guests traveling with the team or who have access to club facilities.”
The ban was sent with the approval of the NFL Players Association and the player advisory council, a group of veterans appointed in early April to advise Goodell on player issues.
That group includes union president Troy Vincent, currently a free agent; safety Donovin Darius of Jacksonville; fullback Tony Richardson of Minnesota; center Jeff Saturday of Indianapolis; linebacker Takeo Spikes of Philadelphia; and wide receiver James Thrash of Washington.