The ugly spat between John Terry and Anton Ferdinand, highlighted during the recent trial of the former England skipper, painted the worst possible picture of players' attitudes within the modern day game.
Such vindictive name calling has contrasted sharply with the general attitudes on display during London 2012, which has helped create a carnival atmosphere around the entire Games.
Bernstein acknowledges in the highly pressurised football world, it is unrealistic to expect matches to take place without a blemish.
However, after a meeting with PFA chairman Clarke Carlisle earlier this week, Bernstein called on the professional game to heed some fairly important lessons.
"Some on-field dialogue between opposing players undoubtedly crosses the line between what was once viewed as banter into serious personalised abuse," said Bernstein.
"While I fully understand football is a high octane sport, played with tremendous passion, I believe players really do need to exercise some self-discipline in expressing their emotions on the pitch.
"This doesn't mean players will never curse when they make a mistake, or suffer at the hands of a bad tackle, but this is very different to singling out an opponent for personal abuse.
"After the incredible high performance and sporting spirit we have seen at the Olympic Games, players must recognise that with the privilege of playing comes the responsibility for managing themselves and their behaviour in a similar way.
"The discipline and dedication of our athletes has provided a benchmark that all sportsmen and women and can aspire towards.
"It is important players embrace what we have seen over the past two weeks and maintain it."
Carlisle touched on the growing issue of comments made through social media, which Bernstein has vowed to get tough with as he looks to improve standards across the game.
Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is the latest player to find himself facing an FA charge, in his case by responding to a comment posted to him.
"It is important with the ongoing development of social media that players are educated properly and the PFA has been involved in discussions with the Premier League, the Football League and the Football Association and guidelines have been drawn up which have been issued to many clubs," said Carlisle.
"I also understand that the FA gave similar advice to England ahead of the Euros and will have policies in place in the future.
"As we approach the start of the new season, it does seem the right time to re-emphasise the importance of the way we conduct ourselves towards our fellow professionals on the pitch."