Jon Gruden struggles to properly wear mask days after drawing $100K fine

Jason Owens

Last week, Jon Gruden drew a $100,000 fine for failing to properly wear a mask in violation of the NFL’s COVID-19 safety protocol.

The infraction also cost the Las Vegas Raiders $250,000.

His response on Sunday to those six-figure penalties?

This.

That’s Gruden’s version of properly wearing a mask — or what’s left of one at least — after spending last Monday mostly wearing his mask around his chin.

Gruden started the day in full compliance of NFL rules mandating that coaches wear a mask “so that it securely fits across the wearer’s nose and mouth to prevent transmission of the virus.”

Jon Gruden stands on the field before the game against the Patriots with a full mask covering his face.
Jon Gruden started Sunday clearly in compliance with the NFL mask policy. (Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Jon Gruden’s devolving face mask

Here’s Gruden standing on the sideline prior to Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots with a black mask befitting the rest of his Raiders attire.

As the game carried on and the Raiders fell further behind in their 36-20 loss, Gruden’s mask appeared to undergo a transformation.

Here he is in the third quarter. That’s considerably less mask, but appears to still meet the NFL’s mandate of covering his mouth and nose.

Jon Gruden works along the sideline in the second half wearing a mask that still covers his nose and mouth but no longer covers his neck as it did earlier in the day.
Jon Gruden with considerably less mask during the second half. (Steven Senne/AP)

By the time the Patriots carried a 23-13 lead late into the fourth quarter, what was left of the mask didn’t appear to serve any functional purpose.

If your mouth is visible, here’s guessing a face mask isn’t doing any good. It certainly doesn’t meet the league’s compliance standard.

Will Gruden draw another fine?

Gruden said after Monday’s game and before his fine that he already had the coronavirus, and that he didn’t follow mask guidelines in an effort to communicate. He also expressed his willingness to pay a fine.

“I’m doing my best,” Gruden said. “I’ve had the virus. I’m doing my best. I’m very sensitive about it, but I’m calling plays. I just wanna communicate in these situations and I apologize and if I get fined I’ll have to pay the fine, but I’m very sensitive about that and I apologize.”

But it sounds like Gruden’s fighting the first fine. News broke Sunday morning that Gruden and the rest of the coaches fined last week were appealing the $1.7 million in penalties handed out for mask violations.

Will Gruden’s lax mask-wearing on Sunday draw a second fine before the first one is settled? Or will the NFL consider the effort good enough?

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