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NFL memo threatens “significant discipline” for violations of league’s alcohol policy

When the Houston Astros clinched the World Series earlier this month, they celebrated with 250 bottles of expensive champagne. Other sports also celebrate championships with alcohol. The NFL does not.

The league has a longstanding policy prohibiting alcohol at team facilities, in locker rooms and while traveling on team planes and buses.

It’s become obvious with several recent high-profile incidents and from social media posts on team planes that the policy is being violated.

The league sent a memo to its teams Friday threatening “significant discipline” for violating the policy.

“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 wrote, via NFL Media. “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.

“Each club should ensure that its travel arrangements do not include providing alcohol service at any time and should also take appropriate steps to confirm that alcohol (whether beer or any other alcoholic beverage) is not available at its facility. Please direct all further questions on this subject to Management Council of Football Operations.”

The memo came 24 hours after the DUI arrest of Titans offensive coordinator Todd Downing following his team’s win over the Packers in Green Bay. Coach Mike Vrabel would not say whether alcohol was available on the team plane.

After the Commanders’ win over the Eagles on Monday night, Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke was seen in a video on a social media post with a beer in hand.

And former Chiefs assistant Britt Reid was driving while intoxicated on the way home from the team facility in February 2021 when he caused serious bodily injury to a 5-year-old girl. Earlier this month, Reid was sentenced to three years in prison.