The Management Council of the National Football League has voted to impose a form of gag rule, with fines up to $100,000, for actions that, in its estimation, damage the execution of a new collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association.
The action by the council, composed of the NFL's 28 team owners, came after public statements by Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn almost resulted in the clubs being forced to open their financial records to the players.
A copy of the amendment to the council's bylaws was obtained by the Associated Press, which also learned that it was passed by a 26-2 vote.
The balloting was conducted by telegram Wednesday. One opposition vote came from the Oakland Raiders, who are suing the NFL in an effort to move the franchise to Los Angeles.
The amendment prohibits public statements considered prejudicial to the interests of the council in collective bargaining, and would cover all club executives, front-office employes and coaches.
Conversations with any member of the NFLPA staff or executive committee, concerning any collective-bargaining matter, would be banned without the "prior knowledge and express consent of the executive director of the council."
Five of the six-member council executive committee would have to agree on whether a violation had occurred and determine the fine, subject to approval by at least 21 of the 28 council members.