By Simon Evans
(Reuters) - The National Football League (NFL) has urged teams to stamp out any faking of injuries and threatened sanctions against those that do not comply, according to a memo sent to club officials on Wednesday.
The memo surfaced after a pair of New York Giants players went down without contact during Monday's game against the St. Louis Rams and TV commentators accused each of faking injuries in order to slow down the Rams' no-huddle offense.
Safety Deon Grant and linebacker Jacquian Williams flopped to the ground at the same time with neither appearing to have been hurt on the previous play and the incident prompted widespread debate in the media.
The NFL said in the memo, seen by Reuters and also sent to NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, that they would take all necessary steps to make sure faking injuries does not become an issue.
"Discipline could include fines of coaches, players, and clubs, suspensions or forfeiture of draft choices," the NFL said in the statement, which did not refer to the Giants game nor mention any particular incident or players.
The NFL does not have a specific rule on the issue but its rulebook says: "The Competition Committee deprecates feigning injuries, with subsequent withdrawal, to obtain a timeout without penalty. Coaches are urged to cooperate in discouraging this practice."
Practicalities make a specific rule on the issue difficult to introduce and the NFL hopes to stamp out the practice, which is relatively rare, by clubs following the spirit of the game.
"To avoid the necessity of a rule with many unattractive qualities, teams are strongly urged to cooperate with this policy," the memo said. "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."
"Those found to be violators will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action for conduct detrimental to the game."
(Reporting by Simon Evans in Miami; Editing by Frank Pingue; To query or comment on this story email email@example.com)