Club executives were warned at a meeting Tuesday in Atlanta to take preventive action to safeguard the image of the National Football League in view of reports of players having been involved in "about 20 types of offenses" last year.
Don Weiss, executive director of the NFL, confirmed that Commissioner Pete Rozelle spoke of "rape, drunkenness, drunken driving, dope, marital problems, wife beating, arson, marijuana, drugs and alcohol."
No names were mentioned.
Rozelle, in Atlanta for an executive meeting of the NFL, began by calling for a repair of media relations by players and coaches, believed to have been touched off by an item in an Atlanta newspaper that suggested the NFL was becoming slipshod because the club owners were making so much money.
Weiss said the league annually sends NFL security personnel to training camps to caution players against associating with disreputable persons and against the dangers of drug use. He added that the drug control program has been expanded this year to alert players to the peril of excessive use of alcohol.
"There seems to be a proliferation in drunken driving, assaults . . . that sort of thing," Weiss said.
He reported Rozelle as saying that though players may be reflecting the rest of society, the offenses "reflect on the league."
Rozelle made his address "in the same context as he did in 1977, when he deplored violence on the field, threatened to fine and/or suspend players for flagrant violations and made club presidents responsible for enforcement," Weiss said in characterizing Rozelle's stance Tuesday.
Rozelle instructed the club executives to "watch look . . . beware" of developing problems and to suggest that players with problems seek treatment.
Weiss said, "If someone is seeking medical assistance for particular treatment, say alcoholism, we'll look into things for him, at the player's option."
A club executive, who asked not to be identified, said, "There's a lot more drinking than I've ever seen. But the use of dope has become so much a boo, a no-no, because the players now know that when he gets a reputation for using it, he is dead (unwanted)."
Weiss said the NFL "always offers players, and others, advice about investments and business opportunities."
The intent has been to keep players out of financial trouble so they won't be tempted to get involved with undesirable elements or into despair that might cause problems.
Weiss said the recommendation to include the abuse of alcohol this year was made by Dr. Robert Riker, head of the pharmaceutical department at the Cornell University medical center in New York City, and the consultant on the NFL's drug control program.
"The problem calls for sanctions of clubs if they don't abide with the letter -- and spirit -- of the system," Weiss said.
"We have invoicing of drug supplies and their dispensation, handled by our drug consultant. He monitors the program. We make a spot audit every year, unannounced beforehand."
Rozelle's remarks were not volunteered to the media Tuesday, but every level of executive who was on hand for the NFL meeting that day attended the "general session" where Rozelle made his remarks, as distinguished from "executive sessions" which only one club representative, usually the club owner, may attend.
A club source said teams have increased security at road games, because of persons soliciting drugs and prostitution. He said the most problems were encountered in New Orleans and on the West Coast.