Even though the NFL is in lockout mode with no sign of unlocking anytime soon, the NFL plans to keep holding players accountable for their off-field actions under the personal conduct policy that was enacted by commissioner Roger Goodell in 2007 penalizes players with fines or suspensions due to improper off-the-field conduct.
Even though players are currently prohibited from reporting and practicing at team headquarters, the NFL intends to keep enforcing the personal conduct policy according to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy.
"While players won't be able to get the benefit of our evaluation and counseling program during the work stoppage, the personal conduct of players and employees is an integrity-of-the-game issue," McCarthy wrote in an e-mail. "Any misconduct that is detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the NFL will certainly be addressed when play resumes."
Punishments will be handed out to those who violate the personal conduct policy as soon as the lockout ends and football returns to the field, whenever that might be. During the lockout players are expected to keep their actions in order to maintain the integrity of the league. Just because the chances of the 2011 season will be played in full are marginal, at best, doesn’t mean the players should tarnish the name of the game.
Barely a week into the lockout there is already one potential violator of the policy in Minnesota Vikings’ cornerback Chris Cook who was charged last weekend in Lynchburg, Virginia with brandishing a handgun during an altercation. Once football returns commissioner Goodell will assess the situation and determine if any punishment is necessary and what it will be.
Due to the expiration of the previous collective bargaining agreement, however, players are no longer required to undergo drug testing for recreational drugs or performance-enhancing substances.