Pittsburgh Steelers fans were secretly (or not so secretly) hoping for the NFL to come down hard on the Tennessee Titans after a double-digit Covid-19 outbreak within their organization caused their scheduled week four game to be moved to weeks later. The league would eventually send out a memo floating the idea that game forfeiture was in play.
In the end, they only received a financial penalty; however, the NFL yesterday came down on the Las Vegas Raiders even harder. While the surface level infractions that were previously known were perhaps not as brazen, the league details that is framed as “brazen and repeated” violations of the Covid-19 protocols, which did raise to the level of significant discipline, consisting of the loss of a draft pick.
According to the league’s investigation, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden was found to have failed to consistently wear a mask—which was hardly a surprise, since he was fined for it already. Additionally, other known infractions were taken into consideration, starting with them allowing an unauthorized person into the locker room earlier this season.
Another previously known infraction was a group of several players attending a charity event that was indoors and for which they did not wear masks. The requirement to wear masks in indoor venues was a part of the protocols before players even returned to training camp.
In all, they handed down a $500,000 fine for the organization, a $150,000 fine for Gruden specifically, and will strip the Raiders of their 2021 sixth-round draft pick, all as a result of what an investigation found to be repeated violations of the protocols in recent weeks in spite of numerous warnings.
This is the second time that the organization and Gruden have been fined due to protocol violations. The players involved in the charity event were also previously fined for their participation. No other organization has come close to the numerous violations Las Vegas has been involved in.
Meanwhile, the league has seen a number of teams this week battling Covid-19 issues. Some high-profile players have been placed on the Covid-19 reserve list as a result, though several of them were due to being high-risk close contacts rather than testing positive.
The Baltimore Ravens’ Marlon Humphrey was one player who did test positive, after playing every snap on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, which did require Pittsburgh to alter its own in-week processes in order to be more cautious.
Baltimore had to place seven additional players on the reserve list as close contacts of Humphrey, though Matthew Judon has already been activated from the list. While they should all be cleared in time to play on Sunday, they will not be able to practice this week as they prepare to face the Indianapolis Colts.