Two apparent violations of the NFL's policy on when and where players may access alcoholic beverages has prompted league commissioner Roger Goodell to remind teams that future violations will have consequences.
As reported by CBS Sports, on the Washington Commanders' flight home from an upset victory Monday against the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke was caught on video with beer in his hand and cans beside him.
The Commanders reached out to the league and explained how they would handle the discipline internally, and a source told CBS Sports that included monetary fines for at least one player. That discipline satisfied the league.
Then, in the early morning hours of Friday, Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Todd Downing was arrested on suspicion of DUI and speeding. According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Downing was pulled over at 2:30 a.m. and booked two hours later.
The Titans beat the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night at Lambeau Field. According to CBS Sports, the game concluded around 10:15 p.m., and the team wouldn't have gotten to the airport until close to midnight. The flight is slightly less than two hours.
Titans head coach Mike Vrabel declined to comment on whether alcohol was served on the team plane.
Goodell circulated a memo later that day.
"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," the statement read. "This applies to all players, coaches, club personnel, and guests traveling with your team.
"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 or Football Operations."
Earlier this month, a judge sentenced former Kansas City Chiefs assistant coach Britt Reid to three years in prison for felony DWI after he crashed his truck into two parked cars in February 2021, leaving a young girl seriously injured. Court documents showed Reid, the son of Kansas City head coach Andy Reid, had been drinking at the Chiefs facility before the crash. An investigation by the Chiefs later showed no other employees gathered at the facilities where alcohol was consumed, CBS Sports reported.