ASHBURN, Va. – The Washington Commanders have penalized a handful of players for violating a league rule about drinking on a team plane, but the league will take no further action, a source confirmed to ESPN on Friday.
The NFL sent a memo to every team Friday afternoon from Commissioner Roger Goodell, reminding them of the rule and that any violation would result in “considerable discipline.” Following the Tennessee Titans’ victory over the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night, Titans offensive coordinator Todd Downing was arrested early Friday for drunk driving.
Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke was one of the few players seen on video drinking alcohol after Monday’s victory in Philadelphia. On the team plane, players mimicked Minnesota’s party with its quarterback Kirk Cousins by placing chains around Heinicke’s neck. He was shown holding Busch Light beer.
Tuesday morning, Washington coach Ron Rivera called the league to notify them of his disciplinary plans. He then addressed it in a team meeting. It is not certain what disciplinary action he took.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said, “The league reviewed the matter this week and we are pleased with the discipline being applied by the club. The league will not take any further action.”
The commanders did not supply the alcohol, a source said.
According to the source, the memo read: “In light of recent events, clubs are reminded that it is League policy to prohibit alcoholic beverages, including beer, at any time in changing rooms, practice or office facilities, or while traveling on team buses or aircraft. during the pre-season, regular season or post-season. This applies to all players, coaches, club staff and guests traveling with your team.”
The memo reminded teams that the policy had been in place for many years.
“Making alcohol available at club facilities or while traveling creates significant and unnecessary risk to the League, its players, coaches and others,” the statement said. Violations of this important policy will be taken seriously and will result in significant discipline.
“Each club must ensure that alcohol is not served at any time in its travel arrangements and must also take appropriate steps to confirm that alcohol (beer or other alcoholic beverage) is not available in its facility.”
After Monday’s win, Washington’s young players celebrated in the locker room — blaring music, dancing and singing. While Rivera said he appreciated their energy, he wants them to behave differently after victories.
“We’re a long way from arriving,” Rivera said on Tuesday. “The best part is it shows that this is the first time they’ve been there. People tell you that you act like you’ve been there, well I’m going to give them a little bit of a grudge for that. I get it. I appreciate it’s the energy and the excitement that we have right now to understand, act like you’ve been there, because now they’ve been.
NFL Network first reported on the discipline of the commanders.