The NFL has levied $700,000 in fines after Jon Gruden and Sean Payton failed to wear masks properly during Monday’s game between the Las Vegas Raiders and New Orleans Saints, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports.
Each head coach will be docked $100,000, while their respective teams will be fined $250,000 each.
Both coaches were seen repeatedly violating the league’s COVID-19 policy mandating that coaches wear a face covering on the sideline during games. Gruden’s mask was regularly hanging around his chin, while Payton declined to wear one at all for much of the game.
Second round of hefty mask fines
News broke during Monday’s game that the NFL had handed out more than $1 million in fines to three coaches and teams for mask violations on Sunday. Denver Broncos coach Vic Fangio, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and their teams were all fined on Monday.
Apparently, nobody passed that information to Gruden and Payton during the game.
NFL’s mask policy
The NFL laid out its mask policy in a Sept. 14 memo vowing “accountability measures” for violations. Coaches are required to wear a face covering “so that it securely fits across the wearer’s nose and mouth to prevent transmission of the virus.”
“Accountability measures” in this instance appear to be six-figure fines.
From the memo NFL executive Troy Vincent sent to clubs this morning about proper use of face coverings in the bench area: pic.twitter.com/AijmnBLlhM
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 14, 2020
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“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.”
The NFL is taking a significant risk by conducting its season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. An outbreak among players or teams of any sort would be costly, and the NFL is taking precautions seriously.
So far the league has been a success in terms of the pandemic. As college football teams are plagued with outbreaks prompting regular postponements or cancellations of games, the NFL has effectively mitigated the spread of the coronavirus in league circles through the first two weeks of its season.
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