The NFL has no jurisdiction over players who misbehave at joint practices. But the league can take action against teams that fail to properly police their players in such settings.
According to a source with knowledge of the process, the league could impose sanctions on the Rams if it is determined that the Rams were at fault in the case, such as failing to properly control their players.
The end result would indicate that the Rams really failed to make sure their players didn’t engage in over-the-top actions like everyone saw on Thursday.
Whether the league exercises its prerogative to investigate and punish the Rams remains to be seen. But how could the league ignore such a spectacle in an era of heightened sensitivity to player health and safety? If Browns defensive end Myles Garrett was hit with a significant suspension after hitting Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph in the head with his own helmet during a game, how could the league do nothing when Donald did the same thing?
It is not enough to wait for such behavior to cause serious injury. Unless there is some kind of reaction by the league, this will continue to happen until a serious injury occurs. And then the league will make sure it never happens again.
Why not make sure it never happens again before it gets seriously hurt?
No, inaction cannot be an option. While the Rams will never do anything to their most important player, the league has the power to do something to make sure the Rams do a better job of controlling their players during practice — especially when they’re practicing with players from another team.