Mask up or pay up, NFL coaches.
The league on Tuesday fined the New Orleans Saints’ Sean Payton and Las Vegas Raiders’ Jon Gruden $100,000 apiece for not following the league’s directive to wear face coverings on the sideline during games.
Both teams were also penalized $250,000, meaning five head coaches and their respective teams have been fined over $1.7 million for flouting the safety guidelines, according to ESPN.
Seattle’s Pete Carroll, San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan and Denver’s Vic Fangio all faced similar fines for violating the policy a week after the NFL warned coaches and teams to adhere to the mask-wearing policy.
“The face covering must be worn as designed so that it securely fits across the wearer’s nose and mouth to prevent the transmission of the virus,” Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, wrote in a memo.
But “Monday Night Football” saw Gruden at times wearing his mask like a chin strap, while Payton donned his face-covering gaiter like a turtleneck.
Gruden revealed after the game that “I’ve had the virus,” while Payton also has recovered from the illness that has killed at least 200,000 Americans.
There have been reports of people being infected with the virus twice, and it is still unclear how long immunity lasts.
Coaches, like players, are tested daily for COVID-19 but players are exempt from the face-mask rule.
The NFL conducted 36,664 tests from Sept. 13-19, which uncovered five positives among team personnel but none among players.
“I’m very sensitive about it but I’m calling plays,” Gruden told reporters after his team won, 34-24. “I just want to communicate in these situations. I apologize and if I get fined, I will have to pay the fine. But I’m very sensitive about all of that and I apologize.”
MLB, which like the NFL is not currently operating under a bubble-like atmosphere like the NHL and NBA, also requires coaches to wear face masks in the dugouts.
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