The Giants will not be punished for two players appearing to fake injuries on Monday night, but that doesn't mean the NFL will turn a blind eye to egregiously suspect injuries in the future. The NFL sent each of its teams a memo, obtained by the NFL Network's Rich Eisen, warning of punishments "could include fines of coaches, players, and clubs, suspensions or forfeiture of draft choices" if the league is able to determine that a player had faked an injury.
On Monday, Giants players Deon Grant and Jacquian Williams flopped to the ground following a play in the first quarter, successfully interrupting the Rams' no-huddle offense. Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo told reporters Tuesday that he intended to complain to the league.
The NFL does not list a specific penalty for faking injuries in its rule book, but it is discouraged. In the memo, the NFL reminded teams of Rule 4 (Game Timing), Section 5, Article 4, which states:
"The Competition Committee deprecates feigning injuries, with subsequent withdrawal, to obtain a timeout without penalty. Coaches are urged to cooperate in discouraging this practice."
According to the memo, the NFL doesn't intend to modify the rules but will police the issue on a case-by-case basis:
The Competition Committee has reviewed this issue several times, but has been reluctant to propose a specific rule, since assessing a charged timeout for every injury timeout would deprive a team of timeouts for strategic purposes. It also could encourage injured players to remain in the game at risk to themselves to avoid incurring a charged team timeout. To avoid the necessity of a rule with many unattractive qualities, teams are strongly urged to cooperate with this policy. We have been fortunate that teams and players have consistently complied with the spirit of the rule over the years and this has not been an issue for the NFL. We are determined to take all necessary steps to ensure that it does not become an issue.
Going forward, be advised that should the league office determine that there is reasonable cause, all those suspected of being involved in faking injuries will be summoned promptly to this office in New York to discuss the matter. Those found to be violators will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action for conduct detrimental to the game. Discipline could include fines of coaches, players, and clubs, suspensions or forfeiture of draft choices.
Will the NFL's warning stop players from faking injuries in the future? Perhaps in the short-term, but it's an issue nearly impossible to police -- especially considering the only way a team can get in trouble is by a player admitting guilt.