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NFL: Criticize officials or opponents' tactics and you will be fined, league warns

"Violations of this policy will result in prompt disciplinary action by the League office, which may include fines of the club and/or individual who make such public comments."

By The Sports Xchange
NFL: Criticize officials or opponents' tactics and you will be fined, league warns
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin alleged the New England Patriots interfered with team communications at their matchup, which has led to a league-wide memo warning coaches and players not to publicly criticize team strategy or game officiating. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

The NFL has sent a memo to teams reminding them that league policy prohibits public criticism of officiating or opponents' tactics.

Pro Football Talk reported Friday, per a source with knowledge of the situation, that the league sent the two-page memo to all 32 teams.

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"We ask that you contact a member of the Football Operations department," the memo stated, "rather than making a public comment that may draw significant and unwanted public scrutiny. Such prohibited public statement may include specific statements about opposing coaches, players or the organization as a whole. ... Innuendos and indirect statements will also be considered prohibited under the policy."

The memo specifically points out that teams should not share information provided by vice president of officiating Dean Blandino regarding officiating decisions made during games, according to the report.

"Violations of this policy will result in prompt disciplinary action by the League office, which may include fines of the club and/or individual who make such public comments," the memo stated. "Egregious and inflammatory comments could result in the suspension of the individual(s) making the comment."

Two weeks ago, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and the team's official website suggested that the New England Patriots had deliberately interfered with the coach-to-coach communication system in the season opener.

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In addition, St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer have criticized officiating and/or disclosed information provided by Blandino regarding officiating decisions made during games.

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