The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, following the most unique offseason in the NFL since at least World War II. While it didn’t involve a player lockout, teams still did not have physical access to their players, though they were at least able to meet with them virtually.
Even training camp looked much different from the norm, and a big part of that was the fact that there will be no games along the way to prepare for. Their first football game of the year was to be the opener against the New York Giants.
As the season progresses, however, there will be a number of questions that arise on a daily basis, and we will do our best to try to raise attention to them as they come along, in an effort to both point them out and to create discussion
Questions like, how will the players who are in new positions this year going to perform? Will the rookies be able to contribute significantly? How will Ben Roethlisberger look—and the other quarterbacks as well? Now, we even have questions about whether or not players will be in quarantine.
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Will the Steelers lose a draft pick over Sunday’s post-game dance video featuring players in the locker room not wearing mask in violation of the league’s Covid-19 protocols?
While a number of teams have been disciplined so far this season due to a variety of violations of the Covid-19 protocols, to date, only two teams—the Las Vegas Raiders and the New Orleans Saints—have been penalized by having a draft pick stripped away.
In both cases, the teams were repeat offenders that had previously been fined for other violations, and the NFL’s disciplinary actions in this regard have remained relatively consistent. Unfortunately, the Steelers are one of the teams who had previously been fined.
As repeat offenders, the league my view Pittsburgh’s maskless post-game celebration as an offense that rises to the level of stripping away a draft pick. A similar incident was the primary reason that the Saints were disciplined a second time, and it cost them a seventh-round pick.
To be clear, should the Steelers be fined, it would have nothing to do at all with the dancing and celebrating itself. It would be exclusively because they were very clearly not wearing masks, which is a requirement at all times when in the locker room, including for players.
Those who participated in the video chose to do so in order to show solidarity with wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who drew fire from all corners, but especially from fans, because of his pre-game dance videos on the centerfield logo of whatever stadium he was about to play in.
Even though he said prior to the last game that he would stop, his teammates wanted to have his back. But the manner in which they went about it might now cost the team a draft pick.